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The Science of Happiness: Why Complaining is Literally Killing You

Complaining and stressing seem to be what we as American’s constantly do. We participate in complaining competitions to see whose life is worse, and we watch complaining in the form of reality TV shows. It is an addiction, and it needs to stop because the stress is literally killing us. And our happiness. Let’s take a look at how the brain works and why that plays a role in how we form our reality and the reality around us.

The Basics of Synapsis

“Throughout your brain, there is a collection of synapses separated by empty space called the synaptic cleft. Whenever you have a thought, one synapse shoots a chemical across the cleft to another synapse, thus building a bridge over which an electric signal can cross, carrying along its charge the relevant information you’re thinking about.” (Curious Apes) Now I know most of you are thinking. Awesome mini science lesson, but what does this have to do about happiness? Basically, every time an electrical charge is triggered, the synapses grow closer together so that the trip is faster the next time. “The brain is rewiring its own circuitry, physically changing itself, to make it easier and more likely that the proper synapses will share the chemical link and thus spark together–in essence, making it easier for the thought to trigger. Therefore, your first mystical scientific evidence: your thoughts reshape your brain, and thus are changing a physical construct of reality.” (Curious Apes) Now on to what this has to do with happiness. shutterstock_351114476

Shortest Path, Fastest Path

With this new knowledge, we have just learned about synapses, we can get a general idea of how personality forms. The synapses also control what emotions are felt quicker and more strongly. Thus, striving to feel positive emotions instead of negative ones will change the makeup of one’s brain, and, in time, help one to feel more positive. The choices are simple:
  • Love or Fear
  • Acceptance or Regret
  • Drift or Desire
  • Optimism or Pessimism
Life is hard. “The Buddhists say that the universe is suffering, and I believe this is because the universe is chaos, and thus by its very nature out of our control. When we try to force desires, we are bound to find innumerable occasions where the universe will not comply.” (Curious Apes) What does one do if they cannot control the world around them? What is there to do? I started to practice the acceptance that Buddhists speak upon, to Drift in the Tao, to accept the natural flow with an optimistic love, to say to every moment that came my way, good or bad, “thank you for the experience and the lesson, and now bring on the next moment so I can give it the same love.” Over and over I did this, moving those synapses closer and closer together, to the point where any synapses in my brain associated with sadness, regret, pessimism, fear, desire, melancholy, depression, etc had a smaller and smaller chance of triggering before the synapses of love gave me my reaction, my thoughts, my personality. And so my default state become one of optimism and appreciation, and the illusory burdens I attached to this existence lessened. (Curious Apes) DIGITAL CAMERA Wikimedia This is not to say no one will ever feel negative feelings ever again. It is just that this practice will allow one a better chance of a happy, stress-free life. Stress is a killer. The negative health effects of chronic stress are well documented and researched. Take a look at all the negative effects here.

Associating - Not Complaining - With Others

The people you spend time with will also play a role in your happiness. If you constantly surround yourself with complaining, stressed out people, you will eventually start to feel stressed. It's an inescapable fact. Definitely, helping friends talk through issues from time to time is fine and recommended. However, if someone in your life constantly seems to bring you down, it is important to discuss the power of positivity with them. Give it a try. What do you have to lose? Only stress and all the negative feelings that can bog a person down. Strive for happiness and change your life! Source: Curious Apes