• Louise Hurwitz

Stop Complaining!

A few weeks ago, I was listening to the radio . There was a segment about the negative impact that complaining can have on our sense of emotional well-being and even our physical health. I decided to test this theory. I would refrain from complaining for the rest of the day. This may seem like a relatively easy thing to do, but it’s not, especially because complaining about various things in my life is such an automatic response. I, like many, have actually hard wired my brain to complain. It’s the default. I complain about the traffic, the weather, the pain in my knee, etc. etc. What would I do if I couldn’t complain? What would I even talk or think about? Much of my complaining doesn’t change anything it just makes me feel more hopeless and angry. It also affects the people around me. I just become this downer when I am complaining all the time. Being around people who complain is also bad for me. It’s similar to breathing in second-hand smoke. So how can I to move away from complaining?

Ask , “Why am I complaining?”. If there is really no reason and no desire to correct something, then stop. You’re just complaining for complaining sake. If there is a reason, find a solution to help fix/improve the situation

Be specific about your complaint. Avoid bringing in past complaints. For example, instead of saying “the house is a mess. You never clean up” try saying ‘the kitchen is messy. Would you please do your dishes?”

Build a sandwich. Start with a positive, then your complaint, and end with a positive. For example, if you want a different hotel room, you could say to the hotel manager “ There are so many beautiful views from this hotel. Friends who have stayed here have loved the views…(then ask for a different room). End with a positive “I’d love to have a different room so I could really enjoy the beauty of this place”

My experiment went really well. I discovered that when I kept myself from complaining, I relaxed. Most of my complaints were really petty. When I felt the need to complain, it was more about finding a solution. Not complaining allowed me to shift my focus to more positive things. My mood shifted. One of the best parts of this experiment was that my partner did it as well. It really helped our interaction to be more positive and productive. So when someone says, “Stop complaining.”, give it a try.

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