Iecently I took 3 weeks no-complaining challenge. Here is how it changed me.
I have always been interested in positive psychology. I’ve read countless studies and articles on the power of positive thinking and its ability to create value in your life, how to develop skills and resources that are important for use late and the ‘broaden and build’ theory. I might even say I’m bit of an expert in the theory of positive thinking.
I know that every time you complain about something, you put negative energy into the world. As a result, you put that negative energy in your life. When you avoid complaining, focus on positivity, and try to approach things in an optimistic way, you actually create a happier and more positive environment around you.
Even with that knowledge, I never really put it into practice.
I can’t say I was a huge complainer. But I had a habit of whining on a daily basis about something or other. “I’m so exhausted”, “Why isn’t it Friday yet?”, “I hate that subway”
Tiny complaints. Yet they all add up.
I was a successful young woman with a good job, an awesome family, and lots of great friends. But I was not really happy.
Then one day, it became clear to me. My constant complaints weren’t helping me.
I realized that I needed to break the habit of complaining. Doing so might change my thought patterns and habits and replace them with something positive.
On May 1st, I promised myself that I would always try to find the good in any situation when I had a temptation to complain about something for 3 full weeks
For those three weeks, I would stop myself as soon as any complaint came into my mind.
Tips for success
The first 3 days were really hard. As most complaints are unconscious, it was difficult to control them.
Later, I started to get used to avoiding my whiny thoughts. To make things easier, I created several tactics to put into action and focus on finding solutions.
1, Change the way you think
Our brains tend to be attracted by negative experiences and give them more weight than positive ones. That’s why you need to practice of being mindful.
Every time you catch yourself thinking a negative comment about something or someone, you should stop and think about something positive instead.
2. Focus on things you want to attract
When you find yourself thinking about something that you don’t want to happen, for example, “I hope this doesn’t…”, stop and start again with some positive phrases like “I would like to…”\
3. Stop beating yourself up
Thinking “I look so terrible today” is never helpful. Make a habit of catching that negative self-talk before it starts.
4. Learn to change it or accept it
A lot of things we complain about are things we can change.
Annoyed by a negative friend? Stop hanging out with her. If something within your control bothers you, whining is not a solution. You have to take actions.
On the other hand, complaining about things you can’t change is a waste of time. There are some things you need to simple accept as they are.
Although this no-complaint challenge was only 3 weeks long, it was an eye-opening experience to me. I was surprised how easily I could transform any complaint into something positive. And as I focused on finding positive things, I started to notice them in action.
This challenge made me more mindful of the way I think and I realized that there are certain ways to be positive. I felt happier, less anxious, and more confident.
Of course, I can’t say that I became the most optimistic person in the world. I still occasionally complain. But intentionally focusing on the good makes it little easier to deal with life in general.