How Complaining Is Literally Killing You & Making You Sick. (Here’s How To Stop)

We all do it — you know, complain about people or situations in our life. We may even call it “venting” in an effort to disguise our complaining, but when it all boils down to it, they’re both the same behaviour.

On the surface, complaining may seem harmless — perhaps even helpful, as venting may make us feel better — but complaining can have serious physical and mental ramifications.

Society itself seems to encourage complaining — we complain about work and being overworked, we complain about lack of time and being too busy to enjoy life, we complain about politics (a favourite past- and present- time activity for many), we complain about family members and issues, we complain about lack of sleep and feeling exhausted, and we love to complain when we get sick— the list goes on and on….

Even if we ourselves don’t complain much (or so we think, though I hope this article makes you take a hard, honest look at your own habits, as it did for me), we all know of people who incessantly complain and how draining it is to be around these “negative Nellies.”

So, how does complaining affect us? From a brain perspective, “synapses that wire together fire together” — this is a basic premise of neuroscience. Every time you complain, you are reinforcing that wiring and making it easier to trigger it. Do it often enough and it can become your default setting. Negative thoughts beget more negative thoughts and you can easily fall into a cycle of negative thinking and chronic complaining.

In addition, misery loves company, so complainers tend to have friends who also complain, which further reinforces the pattern. Complainers also affect people around them. Ever find yourself sympathizing and sharing your own personal similar experience when someone complains to you about something specific? It can happen easily and unintentionally, even to the least complaining and most positive person. Sometimes this can lead to a long conversation comprising entirely of complaints, ie. focused on politics in a negative way or the fear and anger of what is going on in the world. Ask yourself, how do you feel afterwards?

Prolonged complaining leads to stress, and it’s well documented that prolonged stress makes us sick: weakening the immune system, raising blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, and causing a plethora of other ailments.

Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels (the stress hormone) interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, promote weight gain and heart disease, and increase blood pressure and cholesterol. Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also increase risk for depression and mental illness, and lower life expectancy.

How To Stop Complaining

Being human, however, we may need to vent once in a while, so here are some tips to help you avoid over-complaining:

Take time out to cool off and step back from whatever is bothering you so you can diffuse your emotions/anger. Try some deep breathing, go for a walk in nature, hit the gym, meditate, or do something fun or relaxing to calm yourself.

Write down what is bothering you — writing helps us to better understand why we are upset and can help us see the situation with a more balanced perspective.

Take responsibility for your part in the situation; don’t just blame the other person as the wrongdoer. What is the learning for you? What is this situation teaching you? Introspection is helpful for finding balance and being open to a solution or determining if it’s best to let it go at this time.

If you need to vent, let the Listener know ahead of time, so they can prepare themselves or let you know that now is not a good time.

Keep it short — this is very important, as we humans tend to go into stories when we moan and groan. It’s best to keep your share to under 2 minutes to avoid drama and dumping. Ask your Listener to intervene and gently yet firmly stop you if you go past the 2 minutes — you will both be thankful.

Remember that complaining affects your energy, mood, brain activity, and stress levels. If you need to vent, keep it short and sweet, for everyone’s sake — especially your own.

Sources

  1. http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/complaining-rewires-your-brain-for-negativity-science-says.html
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1
  3. http://psychpedia.blogspot.ca/2015/11/the-science-of-happiness-why.html
  4. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-body.aspx

What Your Tongue Is Telling You About Your Health – Which Tongue Are You?

Every person’s tongue is unique, with distinct characteristics that reflect their inner health. Ever been to a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) doctor or an acupuncturist and been asked to stick out your tongue? There is a reason for this. TCM believes the tongue is a microcosm of the entire body and will reflect its excesses and deficiencies. The shape, colour, coating, and texture of the tongue can all indicate digestive issues and body imbalances.

The gold standard: A normal healthy tongue is pink in color, has a light white tongue coating on it, and is proportionate in size to the mouth.

So, what can your tongue tell you about your health?

Tongue Colour:

  • A red tongue may indicate heat in the body, such as a fever or a hormonal imbalance that is leading to hot flashes or temperature changes.
  • A purple tongue is a sign that the circulatory system is backed up, perhaps from a major injury or pain condition. There may also be inflammation or infection.
  • A pale tongue is a sign of a deficiency or a lack of energy. This is common with anemia or after a long-standing disease where the immune system is weak.

Tongue Coating:

  • A thick coating reflects a more serious condition and poor gut health.
  • A thin coating is normal, but a very thin or absent tongue coating means a lack of body fluids, or it could be a sign that the body is being taxed greatly.
  • A yellow coating signals heat and/or infection in the body.
  • A grey or black coating indicates that something is very wrong with the body’s health.
  • A thick white coating means there is cold in the body, likely poor circulation to the extremities and possibly Candida, a yeast infection.

Tongue Shape:

  • If the tongue is puffy with teeth marks/scalloped edges, it indicates a lack of nutrient absorption; there could be blood stagnation and toxic buildup in the body as well.
  • A very thin tongue could indicate dehydration or that a chronic condition has left the body severely depleted.

Tongue Texture:

  • A bump on top of the tongue could be a warning of bacterial or viral infection or of an allergic reaction to a food or medication.
  • Canker sores more often pop up on the underside of the tongue, and can be identified by a round, red border and yellow or white centre.
  • A white or gray lesion with a hard surface that feels thick and raised from the tongue could be leukoplakia, a disorder of the mucous membranes caused by irritation from dentures, crowns, fillings, or tobacco use.
  • Hairy leukoplakia, which occurs in people with weakened immune systems due to illnesses like HIV or the Epstein-Barr virus, appears as a fuzzy, white lesion that usually crops up on the side of the tongue.
  • Map-like patches: If you spot patchy lesions on the tongue that seem to change location from day to day, you may have a harmless but sometimes uncomfortable condition called geographic tongue.
  • Wrinkled: A tongue that bears grooves, wrinkles, or furrows could be scrotal tongue, a harmless condition that can make it difficult to keep the tongue properly clean.
  • A sore or lump on one side of the tongue could be a sign of cancer and needs to be checked by a doctor.
  • Any burning, intense pain, loss of sensation, or inability to move the tongue properly should be looked at by a doctor as soon as possible.

Tongue areas correspond to internal organs in Chinese Medicine; much like reflexology, different parts of the tongue correspond to different organs. As a mirror of the body’s digestive system, the tongue can reflect the toxicity level in the gut, show potential food sensitivities or a weak digestion, point to malabsorption of nutrients, and reveal the health of other organs in the body.

TCM Tongue Diagnosis Chinese Medicine

 

You can use these helpful tips to improve your digestion and thus the appearance of your tongue:

  1. Eat fermented foods and drink probiotic beverages to bring your system back into balance.
  2. Eat only until you are 80% full and eat whole foods that are as natural as possible.
  3. Warm up your digestion with cooked foods.
  4. Add herbs and spices to improve digestion.
  5. Drink warm ginger tea 20 minutes before a meal to benefit digestion and relieve nausea.
  6. Take digestive enzymes to increase mineral absorption.

Note that it’s always best to see a practitioner familiar with the practice of tongue diagnosis, and keep in mind that in TCM, it is one of a number of areas examined with patients, to make a proper diagnosis and determine the correct treatment. Here is a helpful graphic to assist:

SOURCES:

Tongue Chart picture reproduced courtesy of AcuMedic Clinic. www.acumedic.com

http://bodyecology.com/articles/what-your-tongue-is-telling-you-about-your-digestion

http://breakingmuscle.com/health-medicine/know-your-tongue-know-your-health

https://www.sacredlotus.com/go/diagnosis-chinese-medicine/get/tongue-diagnosis-chinese-medicine#body_shape

http://chealth.canoe.com/Channel/Womens-Health/Overview/What-your-tongue-can-tell-you

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin N?

Have you heard of “Nature Deficit Disorder”? Author Richard Louv created the phrase in his book Last Child in the Woods. NDD refers to the disconnect that exists in the modern world between children and nature. It also reflects what many teens, adults, and seniors are experiencing in our busy lives. Many of us are spending too much time in the ever-expanding and enticing online digital world of social media, emails, and YouTube videos. We are losing our connection to ourselves, to nature, and even to other humans (meeting or speaking face to face). Our senses are being dulled from lack of use and our brains are overstimulated and overloaded, resulting in mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. Thankfully, there is a solution: A daily dose of Mother Nature can help bring balance back to our busy, stressful lives.

In his new book, Vitamin N: 500 Ways to Enrich Your Family’s Health & Happiness, Richard Louv refers to the importance of doses of “Vitamin N,” or nature. There has been an explosion of research over the last few years showing the important connection between spending time in green spaces and our mind, body, and soul health. Nature is vital to replenishing our energy, calming our busy minds, and helping us ground and connect again.

Here are some great tips from his book to help ensure we receive our daily dose of Vitamin N.

Book Nature Time: Life is overly busy for most of us. In order to ensure we avoid NDD, we need to book daily nature breaks and activities and stick to it. It can be as simple as playing or eating in the backyard or taking a slow walk in nature, being aware of the flowers, trees, birds, sky, water, rain, sun — no matter what the weather. One can have so much fun in the middle of a storm, so get your gear on and get outside! Whether by yourself or with the company of friends, family, or pets: BREATHE IN the amazing energy of the woods, local creek or river, the forest, mountains, beaches, or gardens, and REFRESH.

Use your Senses: Utilize all your senses and encourage your kids to as well. STOP and smell the flowers, Feel the breeze, taste the rain, touch the trees, walk barefoot and lie on the grass. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and feel the energy: Bring your focus to your foot and how it feels against the grass, and slowly follow that energy throughout your body, feeling all your cells come alive and sparkle with life. Visualize the energy running through your body from the earth and ground yourself. By reconnecting to our Energy Body, we bring ourselves back “down to Earth” instead of being in our racing and busy monkey minds all the time.

Negative Ions in Nature: Natural settings like forests, lakes, streams, and beaches are teeming with plant life and water and thus rich in molecules called negative ions. Although you can’t see or smell them, negative ions are known to boost mood and enhance energy, which can help alleviate depression and anxiety and calm us down.

Forest Bathing: Forest bathing originated in Japan and provides evidence that a slow, relaxed walk in the woods has measurable restorative and calming benefits.

Utilize Imagination: When outdoors, let children follow their own intuition and have fun — climb hills, jump puddles, and stop to look at things more closely. Allow them to PLAY and encourage questions and possible answers, making a note to look up items together, once home. Be childlike and curious alongside them. Use your imagination. Have a sense of wonder and investigate nature as if you are seeing things for the first time. (Some of you may be!)

Nature Spot: Have family members designate their own special spot where they can visit to find peace and reconnect. Observe and discuss how it changes according to the light, season, temperature, and bugs, birds, or other aspects nearby. Do a family meditation, tell stories, or utilize everyone’s imagination to bring it to life differently on each visit. Encourage sharing within the group to enhance everyone’s creativity.

High-tech Nature: Use technology to engage kids. Geocaching is a new fun way to engage the family in the great outdoors — think of it as Scavenger Hunting 2.0. Use a cellphone or camera to record nature sounds or a nature activity and have the kids share how they feel, what they see, and what they learn. Download a digital nature guide and follow it together.

There are many wonderful and innovative ways we can make sure we get our regular dose of Vitamin N. How do you do it? Please comment and share your tips below.