No doubt about it, we all complain. But what if we stop complaining? What if we focus on turning the negative into positive? What if we take steps toward solutions instead of complaining? Research shows you will not only live a happier life, but a much longer one as well.
However, complaining is engrained into our every day. We bond around freezing temperatures, late colleagues and inattentive spouses. Trevor Blake, author of Three Simple Steps, tells us:
“Nothing unites people more strongly than a common dislike. The easiest way to build friendship and communicate is through something negative.”
Unfortunately, not only does complaining make us unhappy, it also releases damaging stress hormones, harms neural connections, and shortens our life span. Additionally, it erodes our personal relationships long term. So how do we change such a deep-rooted habit?
1. Define complaint v. observation
It is more than okay to observe situations. Example: “It’s really hot out here.” However, a complaint would be, “I cannot stand this insane heat!”
2. Notice how often you complain… AND what you are complaining about
Everything starts with awareness.
3. Choose who you surround yourself with
Make the choice to separate yourself from constant complainers… they are like bad second-hand smoke. If there is no easy way out of the conversation, always respond with something positive.
4. Turn complaints into solutions
Joanna Wolfe, professor of English at Carnegie-Mellon University, whose research focuses on communication styles, encourages us:
“Don’t just sit there and admire the problem. Complain in a way to move toward a solution.”
5. Add a “But….”
Complaining is second nature for most of us. So, when you catch yourself in a complaint, quickly add a “but…” onto it and say something positive. Example: “This heat is killing me, but I am grateful that I have air conditioning.”
6. Transform “have to” into “get to”
This one is HUGE for me. Think about it… “I have to take the kids to gymnastics,” versus, “I get to take the kids to gymnastics.” It’s quite a profound difference.
Complaining is part of all our lives. However, with these six techniques, you will begin to notice where you can make simple changes. I have no doubt this will lead you to a happier and healthier life.
This article (6 Solutions to Stop Complaining and Choose Happiness) is copyrighted by Awareness Junkie, 2017. Furthermore, you may not copy, reproduce, publish or distribute any content therein without written permission. You may contact us here.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Moreover, views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Awareness Junkie or its staff.