Self-deprecation is the new trend and everyone is happy complaining about their lives, as long as it is done in a funny manner. There is something about complaining that makes us adopt it easily, and it doesn’t take much time from there to the point where we actually start believing that our life is a complete mess. This is mentally draining and yet all of us are guilty of doing it at some point in our lives.
The type of complaining though might be different and here are a few examples:
Venting: We think venting is a good way of releasing built up pressure, but it can be quite counterproductive as well. Most of the people venting are more interested in being loud and blasting their own horn instead of paying attention to the person suggesting an apparent solution to their problems.
Seeking sympathy: People who are more interested in playing the victim than getting solutions.
My situation is worse than yours: No matter what you tell them, they will have it worse than you. They genuinely believe that they are the unluckiest soul on the planet.
Everyone who complains a lot has one thing in common- they ruminate. They keep replaying scenarios in their head and complain about them, on loop. This just leads to more anxiety and they don’t find themselves any closer to a solution. This doesn’t mean that you ignore your troubles and pretend everything is fine when it clearly isn’t. Instead, focus on mindfulness. It will help you face your issues and find solutions by focusing on the problem itself instead of complaining about it.
Here is how constant complaining makes biological changes in your brain structure: The scientific term for the process is ‘Experience-dependent-neuroplasticity’. In layman terms, everything we go through in life, our experience helps create and group together neuron connections within our brains. Hence, our experiences control the formation of neural networks in our brain. Every time we think of something, or experience something, certain neurons get fired/ triggered. So, things that we do repetitively come more naturally to us because our brain becomes used to triggering those particular neurons. So if you complain a lot, worry about things and generally believe that nothing good is ever going to happen for you, you are training your brain to have the same kind of thoughts. Thus, our mind will react to these thoughts in the same way because this has become our mind’s natural response.
This is reacting, which comes naturally to us, as an instinct. Whereas what we should be focusing on is responding, which is a calculated response. And it is easier said than done of course. So here are 4 steps you can do instead:
1. Learn to catch your wandering mind
In meditation, it is very common for the mind to wander off, especially for beginners. The moment when you realize it and try to bring your focus back to your breath is called catching yourself. Most people berate themselves for having let their minds wander – which is neither right not productive. So just realign yourself and that’d be all that’s needed. In life, when you catch yourself complaining, realign yourself, stop doing and voila, it’s done.
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Being grateful and complaining are mutually exclusive. You cannot do one while practicing the other. So every time you feel like complaining about something, just try to shift your focus on expressing your gratitude for something else. It doesn’t need to be something big or grand, it could be anything, and trust that it would still work.
3. Wise effort
This is a concept found in Buddhism which tells you to let go of anything that isn’t helpful to you and instead utilizing your energies doing something which is more skillful. So every time you make a conscious decision to stop complaining, start focusing your energies onto something else entirely, as you are making a wise effort and it most definitely pays.
4. Use your brain to your advantage
The best thing about your thoughts rewiring your brain is that you can also do it for the good ones. The more happy thoughts you will think, the more your brain will decide to focus on them and react naturally positive.