Can you stop complaining for a whole month? That’s the nub of this interesting piece written by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
There is one person in every group who whines a lot. And when we tend to observe them, we realize it is not real, but rather a repeated pattern.
People like these are attention seekers and they like seeking sympathy. So if you give it to them, this pattern of theirs will never break. In fact, it will grow until it becomes a headache.
Even if everything in their life is going perfectly, they will find the smallest of things to be grumpy about. Everyone has their tough moments and everyone should feel free to express their complaints but being a constant complainer is different. Even if it might seem harmless at first, it will start frustrating you and soon you will find yourself unable to escape a toxic environment.
No one wants to be a whiner but, what they don’t realize is, if they don’t control their emotions, vocalizing their negative emotions might turn into an unintentional habit which in the end will be bad for your health. Not only that but it is very unattractive to others and a mood killer.
The solution to not complain is simple. You need to have a conversation with your own self and really hear how you sound when you vocalize your issues. This will empower you to transform your manner of speaking into something more mindful.
When you give up complaining and master the art of transforming the negative thoughts into productive ones, you will achieve inner peace and well being.
You also need to realize that, while complaining, you are choosing negative energy over positive one. Therefore, every time you complain, your brain is adapting to what you are bringing it closer to. By complaining, your cortisol levels increase. This is all the more reason to not do it as it can cause health problems such as increased depression, insomnia, digestive problems, high blood pressure, and increased risk of heart disease.
Related article: Science Reveals How Complaining Rewires Your Brain For Negativity
Everyone tends to pick up the personality traits of other people. This is why they say, spend your time in good company. So if you are around someone who is a constant complainer, you may find that your friends start distancing themselves from you or you start complaining more. It is only natural to add to any conversation that goes on and complaining often compels others to complain as well.
To stop yourself from whining, or help someone who is suffering from this, you should start by observation. For example, saying ‘it’s hot outside’ is a fact. But adding to the sentence with ‘and I hate this place’ turns it into a complaint. Then start noticing how often you are doing it. When you keep this into account, complaints add up.
The next steps to take are being a good listener and not add on to the complaints. Instead, respond more positively so that it balances out the situation and you end up helping the person rather than push them in a deeper hole.
Let them vent but help them out when they are done, don’t add your negative emotions to their misery. Uplifting helps more than you think it does. So you can always choose to turn the situation around.
Another common tactic to employ is to lift the burden off the shoulders of the other person. So, to do this, you need to turn whatever they are not happy with into a decision they are making on their own. Make it seem like a choice so they feel they have a way out instead of aggravating the situation. So when you have to do something, it will seem like a burden but when someone tells you to get it done because you can, it will seem different.
You can always ask the other person to look at the smaller things they are grateful for and remind them often to shy away from the negative thoughts. The more you practice these steps, they will slowly work their way in your routine and you will find it easy to help others out with this problem of complaining as well.
It is not something you can get rid of entirely, but something you can control when it’s getting too excessive.