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Average people complain 15-20 times a day. Of course, there are some who have the record of being permanently in this attitude that leads nowhere. Because the complaint is like a rocking chair: it entertains, even if you don’t move from where you are.
In the book “ Stop grumbling! ” Coach and speaker Christine Lewicki states that while situations arise in which people may find some good reason to complain, there are other strategies to express what they feel is wrong from a constructive perspective.
If you live permanently in this state, you are going to suffer it, because not only do you not advance or solve problems, but it is a boomerang that turns against you.
The consequences of complaining about everything
The complaint has multiple negative effects on people, including:
- The deterioration of relationships. Mirror neurons are affected in the brain, thus negatively influencing everyone around you. As a source of empathy, these neural connections are contagious and this is how the complaint spreads like a shock wave and directly affects your environment.
- An addiction is generated. Complaining, which people often interpret as a release from their frustrations, creates a pattern of dependency, burnout, and unease. Therefore, if you tend to complain a lot, avoid it by not doing it: that is the way, although there are strategies as I share below. In the brain, behaviors are reinforced with practice. To be able to control the complaining impulses, you have to overcome the temptation to fall into it. In the opposite sense, the more you complain, the more you complain: it becomes a vicious cycle. So, if you want to play in your favor, complain less, be silent or look for solutions.
- Complaining colors everything good in your life. The familiar concept of only seeing the glass half empty permanently makes you not appreciate the positive that is always present, because you have trained the brain to make the first impulse to complain. In this way, your gaze is always black, colored by filters in your mental model that do not allow you to enjoy.
- It hurts your brain. In an investigation by Stanford University in the United States, they concluded that complaining has an effect on reducing the size of the brain hippocampus, a useful area that is responsible for reasoning and helping to solve life’s challenges. By having a negative mental program by complaining, that “route” always takes you down the same path, the hippocampus atrophies, and, over time, it stops producing more results in the form of alternatives and solutions.
- It makes you a bitter person, and that makes you sick. In addition to everything related to links, the complaint releases cortisol, which is the stress hormone and weakens the immune system, which makes you prone to certain diseases such as heart, gastrointestinal, diabetes and high cholesterol.
It is important to remember that it is not about canceling all kinds of complaints, since some, if properly channeled, may be necessary and useful to build solutions. The point is to change the automatic complaint that many people have as a regular form of communication.
5 ideas to stop complaining
1. Focus on the solution, always
Just as you have predisposed your mind to mold it into a pattern of complaint, it is possible to turn it around.
A common tendency of people who live complaining is that this behavior, sustained over time, leads them to have catastrophic or tremendous thoughts. It is not even innocuous when the complaining expression would seem to be a simple observation, since this dynamic contains judgments, assumptions and qualifications on the issues. If we add the tone of the expression and the emotionality altered in different degrees, we have a pure complaint.
The tool to change this perspective is to focus on the solution. With mental training, the urge to complain can be curbed; once you get into the habit of seeing how to solve problems, the complaint will diminish.
2. Come up with alternative scenarios
For those people who find it difficult to immediately focus on finding a solution, the idea is that, once the reason for the complaint has been identified, possible alternatives are raised in their minds. This means that, knowing the weight and consequences of living complaining, it is preferable to start looking at other ways to replace it.
Questions can be very helpful: What am I complaining about? What is the underlying reason for my complaint? What is the use of complaining? What alternatives do I have? How am I going to feel if I don’t complain? In this way you will find more sense to channel a new form of behavior.
3. Verify reverse processes to the reason for your complaint
This tool proposes to stop any type of thinking that fuels the complaint. The first step is to brake; Coach Tim Gallwey’s STOP technique can help you with this (S = Stop, T = Think / Think, O = Observe, P = Proceed / Act).
Once the tendency to complain has stopped, check what would happen if things were not as you think or imagine; It is a technique to “counter-argue” within the mental model that you have, so that you can verify what would happen in a different scheme. By taking this to a deeper level of analysis, the whining impulse will take a back seat. By practicing it continuously, it is possible to reduce and even eliminate the behavior of the complaint.
4. Ask yourself: “What do I get when I complain?”
People do everything to make a profit; Even what seems like you don’t have it, it can be something apparently beneficial for you. That is why this is about playing in your favor.
This exercise is about self-awareness and redirecting a harmful behavior to another that presents you with different perspectives focused on promoting changes or solutions.
To exercise, you need a notebook and pencil; then openly ask yourself what you gain when you complain, and immediately start making an extensive list of all the details of the complaint that comes from your inner voice or in your words. Go through the process as deep as you like. You will then put that list aside for at least an hour, and reread it to see if your profit motives are still “true” when you complain.
5. Work on the acceptance of what you cannot modify, and change what is within your reach
“Everything we do not accept is the basis of suffering,” says Colombian philosopher Gerardo Schmedling. Therefore, in situations that you cannot modify and any type of positive intervention is not within your reach, it is necessary to practice unconditional acceptance.
Accepting does not mean agreeing or justifying the facts; Rather, when they are totally beyond your will and control, the alternative of accepting them and letting go is reasonable. If you don’t do it and turn it into a permanent complaint, that litany is like having a burning coal in your hand to throw at others: you’re going to burn yourself. It has a high cost to you.
Remember that, in any circumstance, we have the option of choosing the attitude with which we are going to face things. Leaving the complaint implies a radical change in this aspect, to begin to have a less conflictive, more harmonious life that adds value for you and for all the areas in which you move.