Establish a Complaint Free Habit

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Scientists believe it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and complaining is habitual for most of us. As Twain said, “We must coax our old behavior down the stairs.”

So what exactly is a complaint? A complaint is any negative description of an event, person, or issue. Gossiping is negative as well, since it is criticizing. If you stick to discussing the facts you will be okay.

“Complaining is not to be confused with informing someone of a mistake or deficiency so that it can be put right. And to refrain from complaining doesn’t necessarily mean putting up with bad quality or behavior. There is no ego in telling the waiter your soup is cold and needs to be heated up—if you stick to the facts, which are always neutral. ‘How dare you serve me cold soup…?’ That’s complaining.”
—Eckhart Tolle, “A New Earth”

The effect on your thinking will force you to be more aware and precise. It will also allow you to spend more time listening and thinking before speaking. Your health, career and relationships may cause you stress, but complaining about them won’t improve your situation.

“People who do not see their choices do not believe they have choices. They tend to respond automatically, blindly influenced by their circumstances and conditioning. Mindfulness, by helping us notice our impulses before we act, gives us the opportunity to decide whether to act and how to act. “
—Gil Fronsdal

If you can eliminate complaining, you will experience more happiness.

Establish a Complaint Free Habit

So how long can you go without complaining?

Complaint Free Image
Establishing a Complaint Free Habit

Suggested Guidelines

Commit to being positive for 21 days.

Use of a calendar to mark off the days, a 21-day calendar template can be found on GratitudeSeeds.com. You can print this template or create one of your own and post in a place you will see every day.

Link to: 21 Day Calendar Template

To keep you focused here are some guidelines to keep you on the right path:

  1. Change the words you use from the negative to the positive.
  2. No Criticizing: find the positive in all situations.
  3. No Complaining: state facts instead of complaining.
  4. Gossip only if you would say it if the person were present with the same inflection and same words.

Each day you go without complaining, criticizing or gossiping check off the day on the calendar. If you catch yourself complaining, criticizing or gossiping (it’s ok, everyone does) forgive yourself and start the calendar again. On the 20th day you will want to be very careful!

Stay with it. It may take many months but when you reach 21 days you will find that your entire life is happier, more loving and more enjoyable.

You will find new energy as you complete the exercise and a sense of power to pursue what you really are meant to do.

Accept the challenge. All you have to lose is complaining!

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Choose an Attitude of Gratitude

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Medical Benefits of Gratitude

Did you know that there are actually health benefits to having a grateful attitude? More and more research is being done on the therapeutic aspect of positive attitudes and emotions. Joy, Gratitude, Appreciation, Humor all enrich your life and help boost your immune system.Health Benefits

Grateful people are those who are aware that gratitude and enjoyment of life is a permanent virtue rather than a temporary state of mind. Research has shown that grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations.

We all know that stress can make us sick. It has been linked to several leading causes of death, including heart decease and cancer. Gratitude, it turns out, can help us better manage stress. Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress.

During times of stress, pain, trauma and drama our awareness gets absorbed into these energies and we lose perspective on the fullness of life. Once we get in the habit of negative thinking we forget that it is okay to enjoy things and find pleasure in life. If you are in pain and are suffering, especially if it is long term, it is even more important to find what gives you joy and pleasure, to seek out the positive in life.

Energy flows where Attention goes.  – Old Hawaiian Huna proverb

What do you Focus On?

This Huna proverb shows that even the ancient cultures were aware that our focus directs our energy. When you focus on the fearful, painful, dramatic aspects of an event, those energies will increase. But if you choose to focus on the optimistic positive aspect those energies will increase. Attitude Gratitude Word CloudThe most important aspect of that quote is that you have a choice of what you are focusing on. You can also choose how you want to feel about something. No one can make you put your attention where you do not want it. So why not start to choose to focus on the more positive aspects of life? See what happens!

This is not an easy task. There are many habits of relationship that are based on complaining about our pain and suffering. It seems like my family likes to compete for the one who is suffering the most. It is as if our pain/illness makes us important and more deserving of attention. My sisters look at me strange when I start talking about the good in my life. So you may need to risk some strange looks and being perceived as weak or unimportant. Yet all the benefits of being more joyful, more gracious are worth it.

Choose an Attitude of Gratitude

There is nothing sweeter than feeling grateful while something is happening in the real time. Remember getting a cold drink of water when you are really thirsty? Attitude Gratitude Seagulls SunriseRemember how grateful you felt and how that gratitude increased your pleasure and enjoyment of the drink. This type of appreciation and gratitude is the key to enjoying life. How much are you enjoying the simplest things in life? Your food, your water, your companions, your home? Take time to really appreciate them and let them know how important they are to you. Try the simple challenge posed below. It is an exercise in extending the joy and pleasure in your life. When you try it notice what draws your awareness out of moment of joy. These impulses/thoughts are key to understanding the stressors in your life.

This is an advanced practice, to be grateful and joyful all the time no matter what you are doing or what is going on around you. So for the time being just try to extend your joy.

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