Thursday, 04 February 2016 08:40

The subtle art of complaining

“Just complaining is too easy: you pass on the responsibility to someone else, hoping for them to do all the work.” Wise words from a, wonderfully charming and truly impressive man, who is turning no less than 80 this week and whom I just had the honour of meeting.

The idea is especially befitting, as the Cyprus Weekly has just updated its format to include a ‘Readers’ Voice’. Its idea is that if we have a problem, readers can now try to find a solution which will improve things, rather than just complaining and waiting for ‘the others’ to do the work – and we all know that, depending on who ‘they’ are, it may not happen at all.

Seeing the slowness of many procedures here, getting that improvement may still take time, but at least now our complaint can be considered ‘constructive criticism’ which will eventually bring about change.

I am generally a believer in ‘energy’, and ‘vibes’ and (as a friend calls it) all that ‘spiritual woo-woo stuff’. As such, I try to avoid complaining. In fact, I am known to quietly walk away from ‘moaners’, especially once it has become evident that I will never hear that final “but it’ll all work out okay in the end”. There’s too much bad energy there for me! I probably annoy some people, too, with my endless optimism and cheerfulness, but so be it.

True, there are plenty of things to complain about when the economy is down, the ‘system’ is not exactly what one would call efficient, the usually so perfect weather isn’t perfect, making one’s curtains constantly flutter in a chilly indoor draft… but again, only complaining will just create more of that dreaded ‘negative energy’.

Not to say one should always wear those proverbial rose-tinted glasses (though with carnival just around the corner, the option seems tempting) but a positive outlook has never done any harm. In fact, I read up on the phenomenon of complaining, and found research that shows being exposed to 30 minutes of complaining every day will physically damage your brain’s neurons used for problem-solving and cognitive functioning.

The article even goes on to say that, “The latest neuro-scientific data shows that the brain works more like a muscle than we’ve previously thought, so the more you repeat a behaviour the more you become that  behaviour.”

“So, if you surround yourself with a bunch of complainers, the more likely you are to become a complainer yourself.”

Less complaining and more suggestions on how to improve the things we are unhappy with may be just what the doctor ordered. Especially as we seem set for more chilly temperatures, which, despite the added sunshine, do seem to bring moods down a notch. May a positive outlook keep us all warm!

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of January 29th 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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