How to become a better human being Part 2
So last week in this 3 part series we talked about why we make excuses and how to stop making excuses. If you missed part one go here then I'll meet you back here for part 2.
Today we are talking about complaining - what it is and why we do it. There have been no shortage of reasons to complain over the past year, but complaining is a means expressing dissatisfaction, opposition, concern, or annoyance about something or someone.
While there’s nothing wrong with occasional complaining (it can even feel liberating), turning it into a habit can have some negative effects.
Besides the fact that it’s annoying for the people around us, this kind of pessimistic attitude can be harmful for our health too.
A 2004 study revealed that people with an optimistic attitude have better heart health than those with pessimistic worldview and a lower death risk from all causes.
An 11-year long longitudinal study discovered that pessimistic people are at a 2.2 times higher risk of dying from coronary heart disease, regardless of gender, smoking habits, or history of diabetes - WOW!
Complaining has a lot to do with our mental health too. When combined with factors like lower activity levels, sadness, emptiness, loss of interest, or sleep problems, constant complaining can also be a symptom of depression.
TOP 5 REASONS WHY PEOPLE COMPLAIN
1. Frustration: the inability to achieve a certain goal or satisfy a need can result in frustration and complaining.
2. Pessimism and depression: when something’s not right on the inside we tend to project it on the outside. The result is often a negative attitude and complaining.
3. Family culture: if you grow up in an environment where people constantly complain about everything, this becomes your standard of operation too.
4. Attention: for some people, complaining is a way of getting others’ attention. There’s no shame in noticing this as a personal pattern and trying to correct it.
5. The negativity bias: humans are wired to notice and experience the bad things with greater intensity than the good things. This can nurture a complaining mentality.
How to Stop Complaining—A Few Simple Tips
Overcoming negative episodes takes time and patience.
1. TALK ABOUT EMOTIONS INSTEAD OF FRUSTRATIONS
Instead of complaining, you can take a more constructive approach and talk about your real feelings. Complaints are signals that something is wrong, but they’re debilitating because there’s nothing to grab on to and perhaps fix. Feelings, on the other hand, help you understand why you’re feeling this way. They bring you closer to other people and opening up can help you overcome whatever negative experience you are going through.
2. VENT ELSEWHERE
Physical activity, arts and crafts, taking up hobbies, or keeping a journal are excellent bad mood vents.
Instead of further dampening your mood through complaining, focus on an activity that brings you joy. Whatever you choose as your vent make sure that:
You like it;
You find the activity rewarding;
You feel relieved afterward.
3. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
The opposite of a complaining and a pessimistic attitude is an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful for your amazing team members instead of complaining about your boss or workload.
This positive mindset strategy won’t make the bad things go away, but, if you shift your focus, they will become less important, and vice versa.
4. ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY
Complaining about something that’s bothering you directly or indirectly is a form of passive, reactive behavior that leads nowhere. If you’d like to see a change, take full ownership of what’s happening in your life. Take a more proactive, responsible role, and either resolve the situation or accept it, let it go, and move on.
5. CATCH YOURSELF DOING IT
The most difficult part in changing a behavior is recognizing it in the moment.
Search for clues in other people’s reactions, monitor your own behavior, or ask someone you’re close with to tell you when they notice you’re complaining too much.
Next week we will chat about how to stop judging. Til then start taking mental note of how much complaining you do and to whom and then take steps on how to reduce your complaining and shift from a glass is half empty to a glass is half full way of thinking.