It’s too cold! I’ve got so much to do! Did you see how fast he was going and it’s supposed to be only 30 mph! She hasn’t even replied yet! Just think for a minute – how many times have you complained today and how many times have you listened to others complain? We all do it, it is socially acceptable, it’s even expected, and if you never moan and gripe you are considered unrealistic, strange, naive, even Pollyannaish!
Neuroscientists tell us that every time we complain, grumble, judge or criticise it is bad for our brains in lots of ways. Exposure to 30 minutes negativity actually peels away neurons in the hippocampus causing the problem solving part of the brain to shut down. Whatever you focus on expands and grows; so when you think about things in your life that are going well the neural circuits for joy and happiness strengthen and enlarge, and when you are dominated by things going wrong………………………you get the picture.
In his book – “A Complaint Free World. How to stop complaining and start enjoying the life you’ve always wanted” Will Bowen gives examples of hundreds of people who have adopted a complaint-free habit and have reported “less pain, better health, more satisfying relationships, a better job and being more serene and joyous.”
Here is his method for those of you who are new to the idea:
- Place a rubber band, or similar, around your wrist
- When you become aware that you are complaining- either in thought or word – change the band to the other wrist. (The act of moving the band is significant because it helps to change your neurological pathways.)
- Go back to day one every time you complain.
The aim is to be complaint-free for 21 days as this is how long it takes to form a new habit. This is not easy as personal experience has shown.
Setting yourself this challenge highlights how much the habit of complaining may be affecting your well-being, and how much better you feel when you stop the judging, the carping and the criticising. However, this does not mean that you don’t return the faulty article you bought. There is a world of difference between: “This is faulty, can you replace it please.” and “This is faulty rubbish. I don’t know how you can sell such………….etc. etc. – then telling everyone you meet about it. The new habit requires that we look for judgement-free solutions and stop banging on about the problems. “Tis the season of good will so an excellent time to set ourselves the complaint-free challenge. If 21 days seems too daunting, how about Christmas Day and Boxing Day being complaint, moan and criticism free days? We’d all have a happier Christmas and we may be inspired to continue.
Have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed