Have you ever noticed that energy flows where your attention goes?
If I suggest that there are a lot of red cars in the streets today, it is likely that you will suddenly notice more red cars than ever before.
It works the same way with attitude and perspective…
If you focus on all the good that human beings around you are doing, you will see and feel hopeful, happy and trusting most of the time.
If you see the world as filled with bad, dangerous and selfish people, you will likely feel fearful, sad and disheartened most of the time.
When life is difficult, it’s normal to want to complain.
IMPORTANT NOTE: complaining is different than sharing your feelings and taking steps to make change in your life!. What begins as some needed venting often leads to an on-going Complaining Campaign where you tell your story of woe again and again, enrolling others to validate your bad situation.
When you deliver your Complaining Campaign, it initially makes you feel a bit better – relieved. You aren’t alone with it anymore. But, if you continue to complain about the same issues over and over (you’ll know because you’ll tell your story in the same way, it’ll all feel incredibly familiar and you’ll feel worse after telling it) the worse it is for your health and well-being.
Neuroscience has proven that neurons that fire together wire together. So, retelling your story continues to deepen your connection to it which perpetually makes you feel more crappy.
Complaining is a way of diffusing dissatisfaction in your life. Sometimes this dissatisfaction originates from a deeper place or from experiences from your past that have shaped who you are today. Consciously choosing awareness and checking in with yourself more deeply is the only way to get in touch with what’s really going on, where it originates and a path toward healing.
Complaining may be your outlet for underlying dissatisfaction, but it never fully satiates what you’re craving…which is to feel good, happy and fulfilled.
If you focus on all that you have and all that’s good in your life, you will generally feel better than if you focus on what isn’t working. That said, being honest and balanced about what is and isn’t working in your life is healthy.
It’s the over-complaining, unloading, dumping and venting sends your central nervous system into over-drive, which isn’t healthy. Complaining also sends out negative energy (even if the complaining is only in your thoughts and you never say it out loud) that people can feel coming from you. They will avoid you, unconsciously, which perpetuates your feelings of loneliness, and frustration about your situation.
The thing is, you can turn this all around.
Time for the fun challenge to improve your life…
CHALLENGE: Commit to taking a COMPLAINING HIATUS for ONE WEEK. It’s a wonderful experiment…and it could just shift everything…
Here are the guidelines:
- Start here: For the next 7 days, you will practice taking a conscious break from complaining (out loud or in your mind).* Here are some additional guidelines to support you with making a fun and meaningful learning experience.
- Become aware & check-in: When you notice the desire to complain arising, check-in with what you notice happening inside you (ie: what sensations do you notice in your body? what emotions are surfacing? ).
- Refocus: Once you’ve gotten familiar with your experience of complaining, then take a deep breath in through your nose, release it as a sigh through your mouth and then shift your focus to something that is working in your life.*
4. Be compassionate: If you catch yourself midway into your Complain Campaign, that’s ok! Breaking habits is hard to do. Try lovingly and compassionately stopping yourself. Then, refer back to #1.
5. Get support: Enroll the closest people in your life about your 1-week vow to do this fun challenge taking a complaining hiatus. Ask them to help you by being on alert for when you are complaining. Request that they lovingly stop you from hurting yourself any further with your words. If they aren’t sure how to alert you, let them know that they can simply say, “Tell me all about what is working in your life.”
6. Reflect: At the end of 7 days, reflect on how you feel (emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually). You may opt to journal what this experience was like for you.
*This doesn’t mean to stop voicing your feelings about situations that are bothering you. Please do! Here’s what not to do: “I am so tired of my bank account being empty. I can’t do anything fun. I can’t go out. I’d be lucky if I can pay my rent let alone eat this week. Here are all the things that suck about not having money: x, x, x.” This is complaining (not expressing feelings) and it’s neither healthy nor does it initiate change. Here’s a healthier option where you voice your feelings and you don’t pile on about it: “I am feeling sad about struggling financially right now.”
This is all you need to get started. Simple rules. Challenging practice (especially if right now is a more difficult time in your life – but don’t let that deter you – let it propel you forward!).
Remember, it’s only for a week and it’s just an experiment to create mini ripples and shifts within, about and around you.
Join others who will support you with the challenge in the MindBodyWise Living Room. It’s so much more fun to do it together!
Hit reply to let me know if you’ll join me in the Complaining Hiatus Challenge.
What do you have to lose?!