27 Dec 2019
7 Tricks to Stop Complaining and Be Happier
Read time: 2 minutes, 56 seconds
The car in front of you is going at a snail’s pace. Your coworker is constantly interrupting you. Your spouse says you can’t do things that way. Americans find an alarming amount of reasons to complain, says a specialized psychologist.
“I’ve heard that the rate of complaints in conversations in the United States ranges between 70 and 84%,” says the psychologist Scott Bea from the Cleveland Clinic. “However, none of us likes to be with a person who complains”
Psychologist Susan Albers agrees: “Complaints can be like viruses; it is important to stay away from complainers”, she says.
Are we born programmed in a negative train of thought?
It is not necessarily easy. We are born with brains that have a negative bias. “We have a tendency to focus on things that are not right, instead of paying attention to all the good that surrounds us,” says Dr. Brea.
“Let that trend become a habit, and the world will quickly become an unpleasant or dangerous place. It’s not a fun way to live!” he adds.
But here are seven strategies you can try when you start complaining:
- Get in Perspective: Look at the full picture. Will this really matter to you in five minutes, five months or five years?
- Look Inside: Take your complaint seriously. “What is the real problem? What bothers you portray a major issue or problem in your life that needs to be addressed?” asks Dr. Albers. Take five minutes to register your complaint. You can find out why you are really alarmed.
- Make a Game Out of That: Wear a bracelet or rubber band on one of your wrists. Every time you hear yourself complaining, change it to the opposite wrist. “The challenge would be to go 30 days with the elastic band or bracelet on the same wrist,” advises Dr. Bea.
- Choose the Correct Channel: Consider that the best way to share your problem is in private: In person, via email, during a phone call. “Never complain on Facebook!”, says Dr. Albers.
- Do Something Worthwhile: Your complaint can address a genuine need that can lead to a solution. “The key is to share your complaint in a way that is considered useful and not critical,” suggests Dr. Albers.
- Find the Positive Aspects: Whenever you have a complaint, start and end with a positive message. Otherwise, people will walk away, and your message will be lost. “You could say: ‘I love it when you buy groceries. Next time let me know before you go and I’ll give you my list. It’s very useful when we work together,” suggests Dr. Albers. (Avoid the word “but” because it deletes the positive side.)
- Practice Gratitude: Remember each day to recognize one thing for which you are grateful, no matter how small it is. “If negativity has become a habit, keeping a gratitude journal every night can begin to change course,” says Dr. Bea. “It forces us to think about what we have and should give thanks for in our lives.” Smartphone gratitude apps can help, experts suggest.
What a Change in Perspective Can Do
It takes time and patience to learn along the way.
Practice is needed to learn tolerance of others’ annoying habits. (Who amongst us doesn’t have them?)
Persistence is needed to learn how to put aside small things.
But “with a little effort, you can learn to pay attention to what’s right, useful and edifying around you,” says Dr. Bea.
You will discover that you add happiness not only to your day, but also to your whole life.
Written by: HolaDoctor - PALIGMED