Does your first reaction to any situation seem to be a complaint? Would you like to be a more positive person? Here’s how to train your brain to complain less.
Monitor Your Complaints
So, are you as negative as you think? As Al Pittampalli points out in his book, Persuadable, human beings aren’t great at evaluating themselves. Therefore, run a more scientific experiment. Create a Complaint Notebook using either a pad of paper or your phone. Every time you catch yourself having a negative thought, record the following: 1) Date/Time, 2) The Complaint 3) Who You Complained To, and 4) How You Felt. You may discover you complain much more or far less than you originally thought.
After a week or so, analyze your results. Usually, your notes will reveal some interesting trends. Maybe you only complain about certain individuals? Since research shows negativity is contagious, you may decide to seek out a more positive group. Or maybe you tend to complain when you are hungry? A healthy snack could stop those complaints in their tracks. Understanding where your negativity originates allows you to tackle the problem head-on.
Address Issues (Don’t Just Complain About Them)
Similarly, you may notice a pattern where you often complain about the same things: that employee who’s always late, the cost of your renting your office space, or a customer who hasn’t paid their bills. Rather than venting without purpose, look for solutions. Of course, this may not be easy. In fact, in many cases, that’s WHY you’ve resorted to complaining. For example, you could simplify your life by outsourcing your billing. Or you could explore different office locations. Ultimately, you’ll SAVE both time and energy. After all, complaining can be exhausting for everyone involved. Plus, solving your problems gives you less to complain about.
Complaining works like a muscle. The more you complain…the more neurons in your brain stitch themselves together to support this negativity. And before you know it, complaining becomes so easy, you start doing it without even thinking. Fortunately, positivity works the same way. Simply having more positive thoughts trains your brain to be more optimistic. Successful tactics may include noting the small wins in your life, keeping a gratitude journal, volunteering, and/or helping others. In addition, practice reframing your complaints into something more productive. For instance, let’s go back to that perpetually tardy employee. Instead of ranting, “She’s late AGAIN!” you could say, “I think she puts her kids on the bus before work. Maybe this would be a fantastic opportunity for our organization to explore the advantages of flex time?”
Are You Trying to Complain Less?
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