Studies of the brain have revealed that every experience you have, every thought or feeling, triggers thousands of neurons which then form a neural network. Repeated behaviors form—as it were—bridges in the brain. Which is why certain things “come naturally” to you after a while. A Canadian neuropsychologist said years ago, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
But this means that negative behaviors can also become deeply embedded in a person’s psyche. For example, scientists say that complaining rewires your brain. Studies reveal the average person complains once a minute during a typical conversation. If you continue to complain, you become a complainer. Stanford University research has said complaining shrinks your hippocampus, the brain’s center of emotion and memory.1
However, research out of UC Davis has found that people who cultivate an attitude of gratitude experience improved mood and energy and much less anxiety. James wrote in James 1:2,3, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” The old phrase, “look on the bright side of things” might contain more wisdom than we’ve realized.
While adjusting your attitude can take time and persistence, it’s worth being proactive as the negative habits you develop can lead you into full-blown negativity. People actually become changed by their behavior, including negative or destructive behaviors. The very good news is that the Holy Spirit is able to remake you, to remake your mind, to adjust your attitude, to give you a positive outlook, and to make you the kind of person that speaks of what God can do in a life. And negativity takes the edge off a person’s witness for God. Who wants to be a follower of God, if being a follower of God has made you into a grump?
Remember what God can do. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Be positive today! Let God make you into a positive person.
- Shrinkage of the hippocampus is implicated in Alzheimers disease. If you’re an habitual complainer, you might want to change that! ↩