How do you know if you need to take the ‘no complaining’ challenge? Well, the first sign is that you are interested in this challenge. It means you have the awareness that you complain more than you would like. But, there are other signs. For instance, if you wake up and the first thing you do is complain, then this challenge is for you. And, if you have been told that you complain too much, then this challenge is for you. The ‘no complaining’ challenge will help you recognize when you are complaining, stop complaining so much, and do more constructive things with your time.
5 Reasons To Take The ‘No Complaining’ Challenge
1. You Will Learn How Pointless Complaining Really Is
If you understand how pointless complaining really is, you will find yourself shifting gears as soon as you hear a complaint coming out of your mouth. But, the only way to really understand how pointless it is, is to stop complaining for a while!
When you stop yourself from complaining, you must find something else to do, and in this challenge that ‘something else’ will often be taking action. You will see in hindsight that taking action produces much better results than complaining. Things will get done!
For instance, an older man I know always complains about how his stomach is hurting. He complains so much, that I would guess his negative state of mind is contributing to his stomach pains. But, he will never take action on those pains. He won’t quit smoking or quit drinking a ton of pop. He won’t try natural solutions to help ease or eliminate his pain. He won’t change his diet, exercise more, or drink more water. All he does is complain. It’s pointless. Saying a bunch of negative things is never going to help him with his problem.
Words are powerful and can affect your life negatively or positively, but when you stop talking and start taking action, you can create real change in your life.
2. You Will Live More When You Complain, Less
Don’t you want to make the most of every moment? When you complain, it doesn’t just affect an hour or two of your life. It can affect your day, week, month, or year. In fact, it can affect your whole life!
Complaining about anything makes you see the worst in almost everything. You can’t express how unhappy you are about something or someone and feel good at the same time. You can’t experience two emotions at once. Complaining makes you feel bad, and as long as you are doing it, you are keeping yourself stuck in that state of feeling bad.
But, complaining can keep you stuck in a negative state, even after you stop. If you work yourself into a general state of unhappiness, then it can be hard to work yourself into a happier state without the right state of mind. In other words, you could be setting yourself up for months or years of feeling unhappy!
This isn’t just a habit that builds up. Your brain actually rewires itself to make it easier for you to have those negative thoughts, so they become a part of who you are. That is why it’s so important to stop that process!
Parton states: “Throughout your brain, there is a collection of synapses separated by empty space called the synaptic cleft. Whenever you have a thought, one synapse shoots a chemical across the cleft to another synapse, thus building a bridge over which an electric signal can cross, carrying along its charge the relevant information you’re thinking about. “Here’s the kicker,” he continues. “Every time this electrical charge is triggered, the synapses grow closer together in order to decrease the distance the electrical charge has to cross… The brain is rewiring its own circuitry, physically changing itself, to make it easier and more likely that the proper synapses will share the chemical link and thus spark together–in essence, making it easier for the thought to trigger.” – Source: Learning-Mind.com
I have a neighbor (as I’m sure we all have) who seems to have rewired her brain to only think the same old negative thoughts. She has spent her whole life complaining, and even when she’s not complaining, she looks miserable and is likely thinking negative things. I have never seen her truly smile about anything. Even when her grandkids come over, she finds stuff to be upset about because it’s her natural state to be in.
Would you rather live your life in a happy, joyful state or a miserable state? Reducing the amount you complain can help you live in the happier state.
3. You Will Improve Your Relationships
No one likes someone who complains all the time. It’s not an attractive trait in a person.
Part of the reason is that when you complain, you drag other people down with your negative energy. It’s really hard for someone to stay positive when you are so negative.
If you are single, then taking part in the ‘no complaining’ challenge could help you attract more interested people to you.
If you are in an intimate relationship, then taking part in the ‘no complaining’ challenge could improve your relationship.
And if you have friends, family, or coworkers that you see often, then the ‘no complaining’ challenge could help you improve your relationships with them.
Not only will everyone see you in a more positive light…
4. You Will Stop Creating Unnecessary Struggles
Complaining brings struggles into your life that don’t need to be there. Think about it this way: If you wake up and the first thing you do is complain, how do you think your day is going to go? You will focus on negative things. You will search for things to prove that your complaining is justified – and they will probably show up. And if they don’t, you will do or say things to make sure that they do! When they do finally show up, you will complain more and then more things will show up. It’s a vicious cycle of struggle.
For instance, if you go the grocery store and you are complaining about the number of people there, you will find a way to create struggles with those people. You may give someone a dirty look, and when they give you one back you say AHA I knew these people were all jerks! Or you may notice the ONE jerk in the crowd even though there are hundreds of kind and happy people around.
I know one man who prefaces most groups with the word ‘jerk’. He sees everyone as a jerk.
- The jerks that work there.
- Those jerks over there.
- That jerk told me…
- That jerk did this…
- I don’t listen to those jerks!
On and on he goes.
I wonder how he feels about me?
In any case, because he sees everyone as a jerk, they usually live up to his expectations in one way or another. He creates all kinds of struggles with people that he really doesn’t need to face.
5. You Will Improve Your Health
I have never seen a truly healthy person – both physically and mentally – who complains all the time. Have you? That alone should be enough to signify all the issues that can arise from complaining, but just in case you are wondering…
- Complaining causes stress, and chronic stress – which can happen if you are chronically complaining and unhappy – can affect your hormones, mood, body, and behavior negatively. In fact, many symptoms you currently have may be from stress.
- A lot of complaining stems from negative beliefs and there is a lot of evidence that the placebo effect works for both positive beliefs and negative beliefs. In other words, if you are complaining about how sick you always are, then you may be making yourself sick.
- As we talked about earlier, if you complain a lot, you are rewiring your brain in a way that is going to make complaining really easy. An unhappy brain equals an unhappy life, there’s no way around it. You will never take action on improving your health if you are unhappy because your focus is on the wrong things – the misery, the downside, the lack, the negatives, and all the other stuff you see while complaining. Moreover, happy people tend to be more alert, creative, and able to solve problems, all which lead to more happiness and health in the long run. When you feel good, you can do good things.
But SOME Complaining Is Good, Right?
If you are reading this now, remember this — more than 4 billion people have no internet access.
Stop complaining. Be grateful.
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) May 26, 2017
Complaining can be good for you and your life. There are really two big times that complaining can be good for you.
1. When You Feel Overwhelmed: You are going to find things in life that annoy you, and having someone to let that out to is essential. You can’t keep all those moments of anger, despair, or hurt inside of you. Sometimes you need to vent. When you can vent, you often work through the complaints, find problems, and move forward feeling better. When you hold it in, all you do is focus on the problem at hand. The good news is that the more you work on not complaining, the less overwhelmed you are going to be in life. Your viewpoint will change from focusing on the negative to the positive, and that will help you see things in a happier light and keep you from stressing out and thinking too many negative thoughts.
2. When You Need Something Fixed: If you show up at your hotel and it’s dirty, you should complain to the front staff. If you get something delivered and it’s broken, you should complain to the company. In cases like that, complaining can help people improve themselves and their businesses, and it can get you a resolution that helps you move forward feeling better. BUT, sometimes, it results in nothing, and being aware of that is the first step to avoid complaining about it for weeks, months, or years afterward.
But People Won’t Understand Me If I Don’t Complain!
Often people complain to others so that they can help others understand exactly how they feel about something. For instance, someone might complain to you about their clothes so that you can know how much they disapprove of their clothes and would rather be wearing something else. They don’t want you to think that they accept their clothes for the way they are so they NEED to share their complaints with you.
Have you ever felt like that? Maybe not about clothes, but about people, work, weight, unexpected challenges, etc. Do you need to let people know that you are not alright with these things, so you complain as a way to do so?
Usually, they just see a victim. You’ve been screwed over by life, him, her, it, and you are letting them know that’s the case. It’s really not an attractive trait in a person.
Instead of complaining, you can use affirmations to help others understand what you are planning to do and appear as someone who is capable of taking action in their life to improve it instead of someone who is a victim.
Complaint: I hate that so-and-so gets paid more than me!
Affirmation: I’m going to work on getting a paycheck as big as so-and-so – or bigger!
One has a victim-like negative energy attached to it and one doesn’t. But, they both get the main point across – so-and-so makes more money than me.
The 1-Week ‘No Complaining’ Challenge
Not complaining for a day is hard, so 1 week can be really hard, but it’s enough time to really experience the benefits of keeping your complaints to yourself and not expressing them to the world.
If you want to do more than a week, you can challenge yourself to go as many weeks as you want. I guarantee that if you do this challenge long enough, not complaining will start to become a part of who you are. And it’s really nice to live that way!
A few things to keep in mind…
The ‘no complaining’ challenge sounds simple. Just don’t complain for a week. But there are a few things to keep in mind as you go along.
1. Add Some Challenging Twists To your Week
While you want to maintain your normal everyday life as much as possible during this challenge, it’s also important to make sure that you are going to experience a few things, such as:
- A meeting with friends
- A meeting with family
- Interaction with co-workers
- Putting yourself in an event or situation that usually causes you to complain
These things will really put you to the test.
You can tell your friends and family you are taking this challenge, but I recommend keeping it a secret. If you tell them about your challenge, then they are not going to act normal around you! They will be on their best behavior, trying to match your viewpoint and keep a positive frame of mind, and that won’t be very challenging for you.
2. Define When You Are Complaining
For me, saying “my butt hurts” doesn’t fall into the category of complaining. It’s a fact if I sit too long! However, complaining about having to sit for too long because of the movie/person talking/class/lecture/meeting is something I do consider to be complaining.
Unless someone is holding me against my will, I chose to come sit at that movie, with that person, in that class, at that lecture, or at that meeting – either directly or indirectly, so I can’t complain about it. If it’s benefiting me in some way, then I would rather focus on the benefits rather than the amount of time I have to sit. If it’s not benefiting me, then I’d rather get up and leave instead of waste time complaining.
It’s important that YOU define what complaining is to you so you can be aware of when you are complaining.
For most people, the definition of complaining will be all they need to help them figure out when they are complaining.
Complaining: express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event.
Other people will be able to feel when they are complaining. They will feel angry, negative, annoyed, whiny, fussy, or accusatory.
3. Stay Away From Complainers As Much As Possible
It’s easy to get caught up in complaining when you are around complainers. They help you see things from a negative perspective. They also pressure you into being at their level of misery.
You can always try to change the subject around complainers, but just know that complainers want to complain. They don’t want to talk about positive things. So when you start talking about something other than the misery that is their life, they may get annoyed with you or completely tune you out.
How To Do The ‘No Complaining’ Challenge
Starting tomorrow you are going to avoid complaining out loud at all costs. And you are going to do this for a whole week. Remember, it’s alright to speak up when you have been mistreated or need to get something resolved, but you don’t need to express how upset you are, grumble, whine, and protest past the point of making your point. In other words, you don’t need to complain just for the sake of complaining.
How are you going to avoid complaining when you really feel like it? Here are some steps to take when a complaint arises in your head.
- Keep your mouth shut. Live by the old saying, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all’. It’s not going to kill you to keep quiet, but it will require you to consciously choose to keep quiet when all you want to do is express how upset or unhappy you are.
- Ask yourself what complaining will really do anyway. It won’t make you feel better. It won’t make other people feel better. It won’t solve anything. All it will do is put that negative energy out into your world that you are trying to avoid. Understanding this will help stay quiet even when you really want to say something out loud.
- Depending on what is happening, you have three choices from here.
- Distract yourself. If there is nothing you can do about the situation, then find something to distract your thoughts so you don’t internally dwell on the complaint. For example, if it’s raining and you want to complain about rain, don’t. There’s nothing you can do about the rain, so find something else to take up your thoughts. Read a good book. Call a friend. Clean the house. Do your hobby. Do something that requires you to shift your focus from the rain to something else.
- Reframe your perception of what is happening. If there is nothing you can do about it, then trying to see the situation in a more positive light can help dissolve the complaint and make you feel better. For example, if it’s raining and you want to complain about it, ask yourself why you are so upset, and then reframe that perception to something more positive. If you are upset that you can’t go outside, then focus on the fact that you get to take care of something inside or partake in your hobby or catch up on a show you have been putting off. Find the positive that comes from the rain and you will find your complaints will quickly fade away as your focus changes.
- Do something about it! Often there is something you can do to make you feel better towards what you are complaining about. For instance, if you are complaining about your job, then you can often take action on that complaint. If you work too many hours, you can talk to your boss to reduce the number of hours you work. If you are getting paid too little, you can ask for a raise or find a way to improve your skills and get paid more. There are so many different ways to tackle your complaints.
In the end, remember that this is only a week. You can do anything for a week, especially if it has the potential to help you create a better life.
As part of the challenge, you can use the free download below to write down how you feel as you work through not complaining for a week. This will help you become aware of the impact no complaining has on your life. You may find that you want to extend your 1-week challenge to 2 weeks, 3 weeks, or more.
Free Download For The ‘No Complaining Challenge’
1. 1-Week Journal: This is a worksheet that you can download to keep track of how you feel each day as you work through the ‘no complaining’ challenge. Example questions to ask yourself are included at the start so that you can get an idea of what to write and what to keep track of.