Is it possible to not complain at all for thirty days? This is what Jessica Hullinger sought to explain in her article here. She seeks to understand what seems to be a natural human tendency to gripe and whine and the reasons which make it necessary for us to tamp down on this tendency and minimize our complaining. The thirty-day challenge was taken up by the people who participated in the Complaint / Restraint experiment.
Those who took part in the experiment had to ensure that they didn’t grouse, grumble, gripe, or whine for a whole month. Participants found it very hard because nothing is easier than complaining. Sometimes it even becomes a good bonding activity. Having a good whining session with another person can make you feel much closer to them. But there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that this is detrimental to everyone involved.
Complaining can harm you both physically and mentally. Whenever you’re griping about something, your brain will start releasing stress hormones and these are bad for the nerves running through the parts of your brain which solve issues. Several cognitive abilities may also be impaired. Not only does this affect the person who is complaining, but it also affects the person who has to hear these complaints in the same manner.
In his book, The No Complaining Rule, Jon Gordon argues that having to listen to constant complaints is as bad as inhaling smoke passively by being around smokers. The person who is the Debbie Downer at your place of work is no different from a chain smoker who is always puffing away as they work. Neither of these things is acceptable in the office. It not fair for the other employees to have to inhale harmful cigarette smoke and in the same way they shouldn’t have to listen to perpetual whining either.
Through her article, Jessica Hullinger also explores several methods you can use to ensure that your complaints are minimal and to sharpen your ability to check yourself before you start in on something. You can help yourself by defining what a complaint means to you and then tracking the number of times you complain and figuring out what things you usually complain about.
She suggests that it is better to infuse positivity into your complaints by looking for ways to deal with whatever is irksome to you. When you realize that you’ve uttered a complaint, try and find something positive in that situation. Try to be thankful for all the good things you already have in your life. To put it simply, count your blessings instead.
Another crucial tip that Hullinger strongly stands by is that you need to move away from people who are always complaining. Their only source of happiness is the pleasure they get from knowing that their complaints are making you feel bad. You can try to make them more positive in their outlook but if that also fails you must remember that they will do more harm than good if you listen to them.
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