A while back, I read a few articles about complaining and how it rewires your brain. Not in a good way.
Also a while back, I used to run 30-day challenges on Facebook.
Two of those challenges have been “life-changing” as per feedback from people in the group.
One was no added sugars (which we ended up doing for 45 days, because we started mid-month) and the other was no complaining.
The no complaining challenge was inspired by a meme challenging the reader to go 24 hours without complaining and “see how your life changes.”
Why not expand 24 hours into a month?
It made us all aware of how much we complain. Several people over the course of the month said it significantly improved their marriages, whether because they had a habit of complaining to or about their spouses.
We had interesting conversations about the differences between talking about negative things and complaining. (How would you distinguish between the two?)
I wrote a bit about my experience at the mid-month mark:
Talking about my no-complaining challenge last night, I was asked if I genuinely feel good, or if I’m just stuffing all the bad stuff. Thought about it, and 95% of the time, I genuinely feel good. The rest of the time, the feeling good does come later. I don’t, after two weeks, feel like I’m accumulating crappiness and am at some point going to explode.
I was thinking about this more, and I think it’s a simple shift in what gets attention. (Simple does not necessarily equal easy, though it’s not been as difficult as I expected. Especially because it positively reinforces itself constantly.)
For example, yesterday, I felt like crap. I’ve been fighting off a cold, and the cold was slowly starting to win. I was slightly stuffy and had absolutely no energy. Something I’d eaten or drunk made my stomach hurt every time I ate or drank (severely bloated), and I just felt miserable.
Any time prior to these two weeks, yesterday, I would have complained to people about not feeling well. I would have complained to myself about not feeling well. Instead, I just did what I needed to do and just didn’t talk about how my body felt. (Not lying, just not bringing it up.)
And you know what? I had a good day. It wasn’t a great day—I felt like crap—but it was definitely a good day. And I don’t think it would have been if I’d been complain-y all day. (I did slip twice, but both short-lived.)
Today? I feel better. Energy is back. Most congestion is gone. Tummy feels better (and I don’t look like I swallowed a balloon).
Happy Friday, everyone!
Recently, I’ve made this adjustment again. Not avoiding complaining altogether, necessarily, but minimizing.
I don’t run the 30-day challenges any more, but I am going to take this opportunity to challenge you to eliminate complaining today. And tomorrow. Maybe the whole weekend? Then see how long you can go.
See what differences you notice.