“Your mind will take the shape of what you frequently hold in thought, for the human spirit is colored by such impressions.”

We have all encountered a person in our lives who seems to be a constant source of negativity. This person seems to always see the glass as half empty, but insists that they are merely a realist.

You may often find being in the company of such a person to be very draining. But did you know there is research to back it up?

Frequent complaining physically rewires your brain to be more anxious and depressed.

Donald Hebb, a prominent neuropsychologist (now deceased), believed that “neurons which fire together, wire together.” What he meant by that is that groups of neurons connect in our brain as a result of particular life experiences.

For instance, whenever we think a thought or have a feeling or physical sensation, thousands of neurons are triggered and together to form a neural network.

Your brain is hard-wired for efficiency and easily learns to trigger the same neurons with repetitive thinking. So when you repeat a behavior, such as complaining, your neurons branch out to each other to ease the flow of information. This makes it much easier and even more likely to repeat the same behavior in the future—so much so, that you might not even realize you’re doing it.

Because our thought patterns wire our brains to react positively or negatively to any situations we are presented, it is essential to understand that if you keep your mind focused on criticism, worry, and victimization, it’s not just that our minds will find it easier to bring up those same thoughts for similar situations—but that over time, this becomes our default response.

We know we get good at what we practice, so make it a practice to be mindful of your thoughts and understand the path you’re choosing.

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