“If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo
The definition of the word “complain” and relative forms (complaining, complainable, complainer, etc.) according to dictionary.com is: “to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief…to find fault.”
The uncomfortable truth is that the majority of us find some “justifiable” reason to complain. Whether or not the situation is warranted or not is irrelevant. Complaining is an attribute associated with weak character, period. A painful truth? Yes, it is… but it doesn’t make it any less of a fact. Why? Because complaining all too often results in an outcome for which we gain nothing. To make it worse, the act of complaining is usually over something for which we can’t control.
This writer, along with 99.99% of all human beings to have ever existed is guilty of complaining at one time or another. Why? Because it’s human nature.
Humans don’t like discomfort in any way, shape or form. Unfortunately, one of the most common ways to express our discomfort is by voicing our discomfort to anyone who is willing (or, in many cases, unwilling) to listen.
Here’s the root of the problem: complaining achieves absolutely nothing. It’s a worthless behavior with a zero-sum outcome. Nothing is gained, but much can be lost. We’re going to (with our best effort) describe some alternatives to this natural predisposition.
Here are 11 ways to stop complaining:
1. Don’t let other people influence your mood.
This one is easy to explain, but difficult to practice. It’s incredibly easy to allow others to alter your positive state of mind. Whether it’s your acquaintances, coworkers, and yes, even your friends and family, permitting an individual or group to adversely affect your mindset is a personal liability. Don’t allow it to happen.
2. When a situation is less than ideal, take a deep breath and look for a solution.
It’s human nature to impulsively react to a bad situation. This is when the conscious decision to inhale deeply can benefit. Deep breathing automatically sets your mind and body at ease; permitting you to make rational decisions to help resolve any situation.
3. Remember that sometimes being kind is better than being right.
When conflict arises, it’s often our inner-pride that encourages us to “be in the right.” However, when attempting to amicably resolve an unideal scenario, sometimes it benefits ourselves and others to do so with a positive attitude.
4. Fit some type of physical activity into your day.
Exercise is one of those activities that has been proven to reap both mental and physical rewards. As it pertains to the topic at hand, exercise is undoubtedly the most advantageous action one can take to balance their state of mind. This includes the mental fortitude often required to resist the temptation to complain.
5. Be kind, loving, understanding and patient with yourself. You’re doing the best you can.
Self-compassion is key to avoiding self-criticism. Too often, we discipline ourselves far too harshly; whether this reaction involves complaining about oneself or others. Be compassionate with yourself and with others.
6. Intentionally search for things to feel good about.
Also called gratitude, the gift of recognizing the good things in your life is also key to refraining from the impulse to complain. It’s rather simple. When we are consciously aware of the blessings bestowed upon us, we’re less likely to focus attention onto the not-so-good things.
7. Do things that bring you joy.
We all require happiness in our lives. The lack of which often manifests into attitudes of bitterness and contempt. Of course, this often results in us finding fault wherever and whenever we can, justified or not. We must set aside time to do things that bring about feelings of joy.
8. Do something kind for someone else.
Mother Teresa once said: “Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
Small acts of kindness go a long way. Not only for the recipient, but also for the benefactor. We find gratefulness in such actions which, of course, puts us in a state of mind that is less inclined to participate in criticism and other negative thought patterns.
9. Don’t forget about nutrition. Bring water and health snacks to keep a positive mood.
Our physical health is intricately woven into our psychological health. When we’re eating right – hydrating, snacking healthily, and consuming nutritious foods – we’re positively impacting our state of mind. When our mind is in equilibrium with our body, we’re much less inclined to engage in counterproductive behavior such as complaining.
10. Allocate time to relax and rewind (R&R)!
A tired mind and body is an underprepared mind and body. Similar to dietary habits, neglecting the need to rejuvenate mind and body leaves us susceptible to negative behavior. We must prioritize R&R.
11. Make sleep a priority
Of all eleven things on this list, proper sleep is arguably the most important. Our brain will not (cannot) rejuvenate or reorganize. As such, we are unable to think rationally – a scientifically-proven fact. This goes without saying; If we are unable or unwilling to practice proper sleeping habits, our judgement is severely impaired. The impulse to complain is just one among many other byproducts of sleep deprivation.