How and Why You Should Stop Complaining
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Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change.
Complaining is a natural part of human communication. It is often a response to problems or a way to communicate dissatisfaction. Sometimes, however, people might find themselves wondering if they complain too much.
It’s probably not realistic to decide to never complain again, but setting limits can be beneficial. This article explores some of the reasons why people complain, the impact it can have on well-being, and steps to minimize daily complaints.
1. Nourish A Positive Attitude
Change the way you think. Of course, this is far easier said than done, but it is quite possible. Cultivate a positive spin on how you perceive the problem. For example, it is easy to stress over having the perfect child, job, or date. Accept that life is just plain messy. No one and no situation is or can be ‘perfect.’ Accept the situation for what it is and move forward. Keep the pro side heavily weighed against the negatives. When you inevitably experience set-backs, move forward and remember that everyone has them.
The only sure thing about life is that nothing stays the same. Change is coming whether it’s tomorrow, next month, or next year. Some life changes are significantly sad. Allow a period of grieving. Sometimes, setting a daily time to be sad about the change can help. Acceptance of a situation helps you to adapt positively to life’s changes. Take up the challenge of seeing the positive in a situation, even if it is a small good. Think of the experience as an opportunity rather than an untenable obstacle.
For the natural competitors reading this, consider your no-complaining goal a new challenge. Can you go one whole day without complaining? What about a week? A month? Make it a challenge and enlist a friend or co-worker to join with you for increased accountability.
Remember, though, that this isn’t a time to beat ourselves up when we fall short. If you can’t make a day or even an hour, remind yourself that this is a habit that’s been ingrained in you for years; change takes time. The important thing is that you recognize a complaint when it happens, identify the source of the coping mechanism, and then shift your brain (and face) to a more positive outlook. Keep a journal during your challenge and write down your daily thoughts and feelings. With each day, you’ll get more practiced at ditching complaints. Before you know it, you’ll be the positive one in the room uplifting everyone else.