Maria’s Midweek Mindfulness Moments

“If we do not continually use the brain’s language centres, we cripple our neurological ability to deal with the problems that we encounter with each other. “  – Dr Andrew Newberg, Words Can Change Your Brain

We use language to convey our feelings. However, without a proper dialogue we often find ourselves not expressing our emotions well or not being heard which usually leaves us in a state of emotional turmoil. The brain is continuously processing and interpreting information, building neural networks and pathways. When we repeat a thought or action often enough, the neural network becomes reinforced and eventually it becomes a habit, just like learning to walk.  At first it was difficult, then with practise it got better, until it became an unconscious ability.

When we habitually complain about something or someone, it predisposes us to think and react in a particular way. When we realise that our grumbling has directed us down the equivalent of a neurologically well trodden and worn-down path, we can begin to understand how emotive vocabulary, often learned, limits us.

Check yourself

When you hear yourself complaining, stop and check in with the feelings that lie beneath. What exactly are you are trying to convey?  Are the words you choose helpful or accurate? Have you dramatised or exaggerated the situation? Are you playing the victim?  It’s important to catch yourself, ask a few questions and change your direction.

Hold your complaint accountable

A complaint usually arises because something has happened that we either didn’t expect or that went against our belief and expectations.  Enquire, from where did this expectation arise? Is it even your own expectation or something that society has taught?

Adopt a no complaint policy for yourself

This worthwhile exercise will quickly change the way you communicate and will lift your mood. Complaining only generates negative feelings and rarely makes a situation better.  Set yourself a goal to stop complaining for 3 days and see how your thoughts and language change. Then do another 3 days and so on…

I’d love to hear how it works for you.

Bev Porrino

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