Complaining comes naturally to us all. When things break, or work starts to get on your nerves – it seems like the easiest way to vent our frustration. But all of that whining comes with a cost.
When we complain, our brain releases certain stress hormones that may harm our neural connections in areas used for cognitive functions such as problem solving.
It is however very difficult to get through an entire month without having a moan. So instead of cutting out complaining altogether, aim for the middle ground with these tips:
1. Define what a complaint is
Saying “it’s cold outside” isn’t a complaint – it’s an observation. However if you say “It’s cold outside. I really hate living here,” you are complaining. Realising the difference is your first step.
2. Document every time you complain about something
Become aware of when you are complaining and what you are complaining about and write them down. Looking back on your notes might give you a shock!
3. Step away from the complainers
When you lend an ear to a constant complainer, instead of fuelling their fire, try to add a positive comment to their complaint. They may stop altogether because they aren’t getting the stimulus they need from you to keep complaining.
4. Turn the complaint into a solution
This is known as ‘effective complaining’ or ‘positive complaining’. Try not to sit around and admire the problem – do something about it!
5. The ‘but-positive’ technique
Here’s an example: “I don’t like my car, but at least it gets me from A to B.”
6. Try changing ‘have to’ to ‘get to’
Instead of “I have to go to work today”, replace it with “I get to go to work today.” This changes your complaining voice into an appreciative one.
With these tips you will achieve a far more positive outlook on life.
Read and comment on the original Fast Company article.