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Being surrounded by constant negativity can have an adverse effect on your pair. If you are constantly surrounded by complainers, it is best advised to steer clear. Read on to find out about how negativity can affect your brain.

If you are continuously exposed to negativity, chances are that sooner or later the functioning of your brain will be impaired. Listening to too much of complaining can actually be bad for your brain. Trevor Blake, a social entrepreneur and writer of the book Three Simple Steps: A Map To Success in Business and Life, has written that listening to too much of negativity by people around you can hamper your brain’s ability to think positively.

Negativity can impact your brain in multiple ways. Blake elaborates that neuroscientists have studied and evaluated how brain behaves when subjected to negative stimuli, typically characterized by a long complaining session. Neuroscientists can measure the impact of such stimuli on brain functioning. Blake claims that an exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity, either with your friends, customers, colleagues, business partners, boss, or through TV can actually peel away neurons from the hippocampus region of the brain, which assists in decision making, thereby, in a way, rotting the brain.

In his book, Trevor Blake says that brain works like a muscle and so if it is pinned in a corner for an unusually long period of time and subjected to negativity, there is a strong likelihood that it will behave in a similar manner.

There are many situations when you cannot escape negativity. For instance, if you are running a company, you are bound to hear about things that have gone wrong. Trevor Blake says that there is a fine difference between listening to things that have gone wrong and listening to complaints. Typically, people who complain are often not looking for solutions. They, in all likelihood, want to get involved in the whole mess and wholeheartedly join the cribbing session.  

Reasons for avoiding constant complainers

There are certain scientific reasons why you should try to distance yourself from constant negativity. Some of these are listed below:

1.     Mirror neurons

There is strong evidence that suggests that human beings have mirror neurons, similar to monkeys. They get activated in a similar manner when you watch somebody doing a particular thing, as they would, when you do it yourself. This is the key reason why human beings have the capability to empathize. We have the capability to learn by watching others. These mirror neurons imitate others even without our own conscious decision. We have the inherent capability to imitate others who surround us in our day to day lives. Therefore, being surrounded by people who vent constant negativity is not advisable in the long run.

2.     Emotional Contagion

It is said that anger and resentment are the most contagious of all the human emotions. A simple exposure is considered to be a conducive environment for social transmission of these feelings. Mirror neurons, as discussed earlier, are one of the primary drivers for the spread of anger and resentment in the exposed population. Speaking to people who are depressed is likely to leave us depressed. Similarly, listening to people who are self confident and buoyant, will leave us feeling happy about ourselves. In a similar manner, being surrounded by negative people will inadvertently leave us with a feeling of negativity around us.

Science has proven that anger and resentment and the ability to think logically and rationally are mutually exclusive.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • “Dealing With Difficult People”, by Dr. Larry C. Bobbert. Published by the National Association of Institutional Linen Management, accessed on September 22, 2012.
  • “Listening to Complainers Is Bad for Your Brain”, by Minda Zetlin, published in the August 20, 2012 issue of, accessed on September 22, 2012.
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