Let’s be honest. We all know that one person who is continually negative. The person who never seems to be satisfied with anything or anyone. Negative people are almost always complainers, without fail. Worse, complainers are not satisfied in keeping their thoughts and feelings to themselves; instead, they’ll seek out some unwilling participant and vent.

Research shows that most people complain every one minute in a typical conversation. It is tempting to complain because it feels good, some might even seem to enjoy it. But like certain other things that people seem to enjoy--such as smoking-- complaining is not good for us.

Our brains love efficiency and doesn’t want to work harder than it has to (can we blame it?). So when you repeat a behaviour, such as complaining, the neurons branch out to each other to ease the flow of information. This makes it easier to repeat a behaviour in future and you might not even know that you’re doing it. So, your neurons grow closer together and the connections between them become more permanent. Scientists like to describe this process as, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”

Repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely. Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Complaining becomes your default behavior.

Something even more worrisome is that complaining damages other parts of your brain as well. A research from Stanford University has shown that complaining shrinks the hippocampus - an area of the brain that’s critical to problem solving and intelligent thought. Yikes!!!


When you feel the need to complain, shift your attention to something you’re grateful for. 1Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” No matter what situation you’re stuck in, there is always something to be grateful for. Did you wake up this morning? Be thankful for it. Many are struggling for life and didn’t get to see a new day.

Secondly if you feel the need to complain, determine the outcome you’re looking for. If you can’t find a purpose, there’s a very good chance you want to complain simply for the sake of it. James 5:9 gives us a warning that says, “Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.” A suggested approach is solution-oriented complaining. Now solution oriented complaining when you have a purpose in mind. This way you simply do not complain for the sake of it, rather bring to light your issue (complain) whilst suggesting measures that can to be taken to avoid further inconvenience. Be specific of what annoyed you and come to point of closure.


Human beings are inherently social and so naturally and unconsciously our brain mimics the mood of those we spend a lot of time with. This process is called neuronal mirroring and it’s the basis for us to feel empathy. On the flipside it makes complaining a lot like smoking--you don’t have to do it yourself to suffer the ill effects. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." Think about it like this--if a person was smoking near you, would you sit around them and inhale all the second hand smoke? No, you’d distance yourself from them. Same goes for the complainers. The moods and habits of the people who you hang out with will always have an influence on you. Use this opportunity to influence others rather than being influenced by them.

It is easier said than done. But this is where the Holy Spirit steps in. He is also called a Helper for a reason. Let’s learn to use our words wisely. Whenever you open your mouth to speak, consider: is what I am saying going to build up my friends? Here’s an even better question to ask: Would Jesus say this?


If you realised that you suffer from this habit of complaining, I’ve got a challenge for you! Are you ready???

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