Your Brain is Rewired When You Complain: How to Stop and Be More Positive

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Some people seem hardwired to complain about everything from the weather to life and everything in between. Even when things seem to be getting better, some people just cannot stop complaining. Even if some people complain at some point, even a little bit, there is reason to believe the brain rewires itself to focus on the negative the more you complain. It also builds worry and anxiety. Learn some tips for how to focus on the positive and stop honing in on the negative.


Many people may unintentionally reinforce the habit of focusing on the negative and complaining. This is called ‘experience-dependent neuroplasticity,’ which is the continued creation and grouping of neuron connections in the brain that takes place as a result of life experiences. Neuroscience teaches that when neurons fire together, they wire together. Thousands of neurons may be triggered and form a neural network. What this means is that, with repetitive thinking, the brain learns to trigger the same neurons each time. Focusing on self-criticism or worries may keep the brain circling the same thoughts over and over, creating a neural map in the brain to focus on the negative.

How to Stop

If you are tired of focusing on the negative and want to catch the complaints before they start, try following some of these tips:

  • Catch yourself. The moment your mind wanders to the negative, we can bring our focus to the breath.
  • Practice gratitude. Being grateful is a practice that takes time to get used to, especially for people who are used to focusing on the negative. Look at even the smallest things in life if you want to focus on gratitude.
  • Practice wise effort. Wise effort is essentially focusing on letting go of that which is not helpful and cultivating that which is skillful and helpful. The effort to prevent unskillful thoughts and actions will turn your brain to more positive things so you can focus on what will help you rather than bring more worry and anxiety.
  • New groove. The more we allow our minds to remember the good things, the easier it is to think positive. It is harder when our brains are full of negative thoughts and feelings. When we focus on the positive, we are able to see all the goodness in life rather than what is not so good.

Sound Recovery helps bring you back to the positive in life and find gratitude for the daily good things that happen. Addiction recovery is hard but it does not have to feel difficult. We are here to guide you through the steps to recovery. If you are struggling with addiction, let us help. Call us at 561-277-3088 to get started.

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