I recently gave myself the challenge of going on a ‘no worrying and no complaining’ diet. As soon as I got started I noticed I complained 3 times in the first 10 minutes! I realized this was not going to be an easy task. In this blog post, I share my findings and research on how worrying and complaining are joy thieves, plus I provide practical ways to reduce their ability to rob our joy.
Worrying and complaining are deeply ingrained habits for many of us. Complaining about the weather is a common conversational starter, I personally have a terrible habit of complaining about the weather, I thought it was because I’m from Scotland where it rains a lot, but I’ve lived in many places and everyone likes to complain about the weather, either its too hot, its too cold, its too wet, its too dry, too many hurricanes, floods, tornados and so on.
Both of these joy thief’s drain our mental and emotional energy, and can very easily drag us into a negative spiral of doom. Let’s look at them one by one.
Complaining reinforces a victim mentality and keeps us focused on what’s wrong rather than what’s right. It puts us into a state that is less able to find a possible solution to resolve what it is we are complaining about.
How to break free from the habit of complaining
Shift to solution-oriented thinking
See complaining as a sign that you have an opportunity to upgrade your life in someway as you solve this issue. Instead of dwelling on complaints, redirect your energy towards finding solutions. Focus on what you can do to improve the situation or make a positive change.
Here’s an example from my own life:
I often find myself complain when the summer bugs appear. Being a magnet for mosquitos and having an allergic reaction to their bite, I feel justified in my ‘right’ to complain, but it doesn’t help, it just amplifies the problem and my frustration.
In switching my mind to solution-oriented thinking, an obvious solution came to mind – get a bug tent.
This worked for two seasons until I got a dog, who would come under the tent and bring a bunch of bugs in with her!
After complaining again just for a moment, it was time to find a new solution, here are some ideas that emerged:
- Build a solid bug tent structure ( so the dog can’t get in)
- Stay inside when it’s bug o’clock
- Find non buggy spots to hang out
- Move to a new area
- Get bat houses to invite bats (bats love munching on mosquitos)
- Get a better bug spray
- Get something that zap’s mosquitos
- Make sure there is no water around where mosquitos can lay eggs
- Ask the locals for tips and tricks
- Call on the pro’s from drastic measures
My joy came back by just shifting my focus from the problem to using my creative mind to come up with solutions.
Monitor your thoughts
Practice self-reflection, notice when you’re swimming in or about to dive into a complaint. Take a moment to pause, breathe and reframe your thoughts before blurting them out. You can voice your opinions and concerns without the tone and energy of a complaint.
There are tons of ways to cultivate a habit of gratitude, if you haven’t already, find one that works for you. Consciously acknowledge and appreciate the positive aspects of your life. I give my brain the task of finding things I’m grateful for during my morning meditation. I used to keep a gratitude journal.
Surround yourself with positive vibes
Spend time with people who have a positive outlook on life. Encourage positive conversations about uplifting topics or out of the box solutions. Consume media that elevates your mood. Create an inspiring environment for yourself to be in. Go places that evoke joy.
Worrying robs our present happiness by fixating our minds on future uncertainties. It creates a constant state of anxiety and prevents us from fully enjoying the present moment.
How to break free from the habit of worrying
Identify if what your worrying about is within your control
Worrying often revolves around things beyond our control, making it unproductive and exhausting. Focus on the aspects you can control and take action right away where possible. For things beyond your control, practice acceptance and learn to let go.
Challenge your worry thoughts
Examine whether or not your worries are true. Reframe negative thoughts with positive or realistic alternatives. Cultivate a mindset of trust, embracing a belief a something like ‘things will work out as they should’.
Mindfulness and grounding techniques
Practice mindfulness to bring your focus back to the present moment and engage in grounding techniques like deep breathing or meditation to calm your mind and reduce anxiety. This can also be super helpful if you catch yourself complaining. I share one of my favorite grounding technique in this short video.
Worrying and complaining are just two of the detrimental habits that rob us of joy and drain our energy. As an Energy Coach I help my clients restore lost power that might be trapped in habits like these as well as energy that might be stuck in the past, the future, the body, the emotions, the thoughts. To book a Free 1 hour coaching session with me – click here.
If you feel inspired, give the ‘no worrying, no complaining diet’ a try, and if you have any great tips on how to deal with mosquitos, please share!