The average person complains 30 times a day. If you divide it by 16 waking hours, that is about once every half an hour. Pretty pessimistic, right?
But it is even worse because complaining affects your health and well-being in negative ways. How?
It Rewires Your Brain for Negativity
The more you repeat a behavior, the more likely it is that your brain does it again in the future. One complaint leads to another until complaining becomes your default behavior. This impacts you negatively but also other people’s perception of yourself.
It Damages Your Health
Complaining makes your body release cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone”. If you complain frequently, the high amounts of cortisol in your system make you more susceptible to diseases like cholesterol, diabetes, or heart disease.
It Shrinks Your Brain
A 1996 study from Stanford University shows “links between long-term stressful life experiences, long-term exposure to hormones produced during stress, and shrinking of the hippocampus”. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that regulates motivation, emotion, learning, and memory. Not so good to have it shrunk, right?
The good news is that you can fix the problem and it depends entirely on you. To do so, follow these three simple yet powerful tips:
7-Day No Complaining Challenge
To change your old complaining habit, you need to replace it with a new one. But how can you do that? The answer is simple: through consistency.
If your goal is to stop complaining, you need to practice it. As the name suggests, the objective of this challenge is to spend seven days without complaining.
The tricky part is that, if you do complain, the challenge resets and you are back at day zero. And you need to go for another seven days without complaining.
It’s unlikely you will finish the challenge successfully the first time, but do not worry. The more times you fail, the more you will practice, and you will notice that you get closer to the seven days with each time you try.
Complaining is an automatic reaction. Most times, you don’t think about it, you just do it. To catch yourself doing it, you must be aware, mindful. And nothing makes you more mindful than a regular meditation practice.
As you practice meditation, you will realize you think more before you speak. And, most times, you will just let it go. Complaining is not worth your time and effort.
You cannot be grateful and complain at the same time. Therefore, if you feel grateful more often, you will naturally complain less.
You can practice gratitude in many ways: journaling daily, noticing the people and things you are grateful for, or having a grateful moment in your meditation practice, for example.
Start putting these tips into practice right now!
Can today be day one of your seven-day no complaining challenge?