Tinybuddha.com Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Lauren Stewart
We all complain. Even if you argue that you are the happiest person in the world, you still complain sometimes.
Sometimes we complain without even realizing it, but rarely is it ever helpful. Sure, a common complaint can bond two people who may have nothing in common, but too much complaining would just break down the relationship.1
For example, I once had a friend who constantly griped about her health, her family, her relationships, school, and the list goes on. Every time I hung out with her I felt drained afterward.
No matter what I said or did, it never seemed to cheer her up. There is no arguing that she was going through a tough time, but her negative attitude certainly made matters worse. Eventually we grew apart because it was more than I could handle at the time.
So what happens if you are the one stuck in the negative attitude? We’ve all been there. I know I sure have. There are days when everything seems to go wrong and complaining is the easiest thing to do.
It’s easier to complain instead of fixing a problem, like quitting a job or having a talk with someone. But I find that when you put your mind toward a more positive outlook and force yourself to end complaining, it is possible!
Here are some tips to stop complaining and ditch the negative thoughts to focus on finding solutions:
1. Change the way you think.
This is definitely easier said than done. Our brains tend to gravitate toward the negative. Much like the quote above, we are bothered first by the thorns in the rose bush instead of being marveled by the sight of the beautiful roses.
This requires a new practice of being mindful. When you find yourself thinking or saying a negative comment about something or someone, stop and force yourself to say something positive instead. Enlist the help of a cheerful friend to stop you when you complain and help you to see the positive in the situation.
2. Allow yourself to vent every once in a while.
Constantly ignoring your negative thoughts could add up. If you are really going through a rough time, don’t be afraid to share your feelings with a close friend or family member or see a therapist. Don’t feel ashamed if you need to talk through negative feelings.
3. Practice yoga.
Yoga is a great way to exercise, relax, and learn to be mindful. Yoga focuses on breathing, movement, and meditation and helps you to control your mind and body. Our minds often race in a million directions. Yoga can help you calm your racing thoughts and be more positive with your intentions.
4. Train yourself to be less judgmental.
We often complain about others because we think they are not up to our standards. Once you stop judging people without knowing their stories, you will most likely complain less about the things people do.
For example, constantly complaining about the service in a restaurant is not helpful. You don’t know what kind of a day your waiter or waitress has had or what problems are going on behind the scenes. If you put yourself in their shoes for a minute, you may be more kind and relax about the situation.
5. Make a list of things you’re grateful for.
Stopping for a minute and thinking of all the great things and amazing people in your life will probably put any silly complaints you had to rest.
6. Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Next time you’re with your friends, family, or co-workers and engaged in a complaint fest, speak up or quiet down. Depending on the crowd, either speak up to stop the complaining and change the subject to something sunnier or simply be quiet and don’t complain yourself.
7. Accept responsibility.
If something is bothering you, either fix it or accept that nothing can be done right now, so why complain? Complaining is a passive activity. Change that complaining into action to solve the problem or simple accept it and give your mind something else to focus on.
8. Find what makes you happy.
Sometimes this list can be easy, full of hobbies you enjoy. Sometimes it requires deeper introspection. Are you constantly complaining about your job? Maybe it is time to make the hard decision to move on to another job or career. Uncover what your biggest complaints are about and see if you can change the situation to make you happy.
9. Take care of yourself.
Stress and a busy lifestyle can often take over our lives and break down anyone’s positive spirit. Take time out from your life for just you. Make sure you get to see that movie you were dying to watch, take a hot bath, head to your exercise class, get a manicure, play sports, or do whatever relaxes and energizes you. It could just put you in a new frame of mind.
10. Simply ask yourself when you open your mouth: would you rather complain or be happy?
Choose happiness, focusing on the positive, and being kind always! It is your choice and no one else’s.