Listening to Complainers Is Bad for Your Brain

Who wants to listen to complaints? Sometimes you have no choice, but when you spent time listening to people complaining, you tend to develop a negative attitude. Author Trevor Blake cites some research in his book Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life.

Even worse, being exposed to too much complaining can actually make you dumb. Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity--including viewing such material on TV--actually peels away neurons in the brain's hippocampus. "That's the part of your brain you need for problem solving," he says. "Basically, it turns your brain to mush."

But if you're running a company, don't you need to hear about anything that may have gone wrong? "There's a big difference between bringing your attention to something that's awry and a complaint," Blake says. "Typically, people who are complaining don't want a solution; they just want you to join in the indignity of the whole thing. You can almost hear brains clink when six people get together and start saying, 'Isn't it terrible?' This will damage your brain even if you're just passively listening. And if you try to change their behavior, you'll become the target of the complaint."

Blake also has some advice on protecting yourself from complaints. As the mother of multiple teenagers, I vouch for selective hearing loss. Link -via mental_floss

(Image credit: Flickr user Michael Lore)

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