I recently read an article by ‘Positively Present‘ in which the author challenged herself to stop complaining for 24 hours, and it turns out she found it very difficult.
You may not think of yourself as a big complainer, but could you take a whole day off complaining? It’s not just the moans we make to others but also the many whines we say internally to ourselves. If you decide to try the experience yourself then here are 4 tips to help you:
1. Reality Check. How often do you catch your inner voice making complaints like “Why is there so much traffic?” or “It’s freezing today” or “Oh no the alarm already, I’m so tired”. Try a reality check, are you really freezing or is it just cold today? Is the traffic really a big problem or just irritating? And yes the alarms gone off but are you tired or do you just need to get on with the day? This low level complaining is really just a negative commentary on your daily life which you could choose to change to a more positive outlook.
2. Presence. Do you find yourself drifting off in to the future with ‘what if’ worries filling your mind, such as what you’ve still got to do for the rest of the day? Perhaps you also analyse the past and complain about things others have done or said? We all do it, but this sort of complaining will make no difference to what has happened or will happen and just leaves you feeling negative. It’s far better to focus on what your feeling, seeing and doing now and make the best of the present moment.
3. Reinforcing Complaints. It’s nice to know sometimes that others are having a tough day too. But if your automatic response to a friends enquiry about how you are; is to complain about being so busy or how tired you feel, then not only might it pull their mood down, but you end up in a mutual moaning session. This is fine to do when things are genuinely tough but can be draining for both of you if it’s a regular event.
4. Is it in your control? If the issue is within your control to change such as an extra jacket if you’re ‘freezing’ or leaving earlier if there’s too much traffic. Then taking action rather than complaining will resolve your problem quicker. However if your moan is something you can’t change such as “is it only Tuesday today?” then you’ll find things less stressful if you just accept the situation rather than letting it pull you down.
Good luck with the challenge and whether you manage the 24 hours without complaining or not (I didn’t!) Your increased awareness of when you do complain will hopefully enable you to reduce it in the future and leave more time for feeling positive.
Please let me know your thoughts on this article and how you got on by commenting below.