We all do it sometimes - whether we’re talking about the weather, politicians, traffic, our body, technology, or any of the facets of our daily lives - we complain. We focus on and talk about some perceived negative aspect; something that isn’t as we think it should be. It seems harmless enough, after all, we’re just ‘telling it like it is,’ yet complaining can become a habit, even a way of seeing and experiencing life, and that’s not fun for you or for anyone around you.
The following three steps are designed to provide a pattern interrupt; a break in negative thinking that will free your mind & heart to experience Life at a level of deep appreciation and contentment. I invite you to give these a three practices a try:
Bring awareness to your thoughts. How often do you complain, either in your head or aloud? Our minds are very active, churning out over 60,000 thoughts each day. How many of those are negative? Here's the practice: at least 5 times during the day, ask yourself, "What am I thinking?" It can be at random times, or perhaps you can set a timer on your phone to go off at intervals. Our overactive minds love to chew on hurtful experiences, perceived slights and injustices. When we shine the light of awareness onto our thoughts, our conscious mind sees what often flies by under the radar. It is at this point of awareness that we can make a different choice.
Direct your attention to what it is you desire. This step is based on the principle of, where attention goes, energy flows. We've been taught that the way to change unwanted things in our lives is by giving them our attention and fighting against them. Yet the opposite is true. Here's the practice: Focus your attention on what you'd like to create. Take the energy you'd spend resisting what you don't want and direct it to what you would like to have. This is a key pivoting point! For example, if a horrendous commute is sapping your good mood and energy, instead of complaining about it, even just in your head, envision what you would prefer - would it be working from home a few days a week? Getting another job closer to home? Moving to a trendy new apartment closer to work? What would your ideal situation look like?
Last, but definitely not least, express gratitude for all the things that are right in your life. We often zip right by our abundant blessings on the way to complain about something. Yes, I'm alive and healthy, I live in a relatively safe place, have clothes to wear, food to eat, people who love me, functioning senses, abundant resources, but you wouldn't believe what my in-laws said!! Here's the practice: When you catch yourself complaining about anything, stop, and name at least 3 things you are grateful for, and no repeats! Challenge yourself to find new things for which you can feel appreciation because it is impossible to feel aggravated and grateful at the same time.
Author and teacher Wayne Dyer said, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." My friends, do not be mistaken by the simplicity of these 3 steps. Though simple to perform, they have the power to change your outlook and experience of Life. Use them to kick the complaining habit!