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This article was translated using AI technologies from our Spanish edition. Errors can occur as a result of this process.
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Average people complain 15-20 times a day. Of course, there are some who are recorded as persistently in this posture that is going nowhere. Because the complaint is like a rocking chair: it entertains you even when you are not moving from your location.
In the book “Stop grumbling! Coach and spokesperson Christine Lewicki explains that while there are situations in which people find a good reason to complain, there are also other strategies for expressing what they consider to be wrong from a constructive point of view.
If you live in this state permanently, you will suffer because not only are you not getting ahead or solving problems, but it is a boomerang that turns against you.
The consequences of complaining about anything
The complaint has several negative effects on people, including:
The deterioration in relationships. Mirror neurons are affected in the brain and thus negatively affect everyone around you. As a source of empathy, these neural connections are contagious and this is how the complaint spreads like a shock wave and directly affects those around you. An addiction is created. Complaints, which people often interpret as relief from their frustrations, create a pattern of addiction, burnout, and discomfort. If you have a tendency to complain a lot, avoid doing it by not: this is the way to go, although there are strategies that I will share below. In the brain, behaviors are reinforced by exercise. In order to control the complaining impulses, one must overcome the temptation to fall into it. In the opposite sense, the more you complain, the more you complain: it becomes a vicious circle. So if you want to play in your favor, complain less, be silent, or seek solutions. Complaints colors everything well in your life. The well-known concept of seeing the glass only half empty does not make you appreciate the positive that is always there because you have trained the brain to give the first impulse to complain. In this way your gaze is always black, tinged by filters in your mental model that do not allow you to enjoy. It hurts your brain. In a study by Stanford University in the United States, they concluded that ailments reduce the size of the brain's hippocampus, a useful area responsible for thinking and solving life's challenges. If you have a negative mental program by complaining, this "route" always takes you the same path, the hippocampus atrophies and over time no further results in the form of alternatives and solutions are obtained. It makes you a bitter person, and that makes you sick. In addition to everything left-related, the complaint releases cortisol, which is the stress hormone and weakens the immune system, making you vulnerable to certain diseases like the heart, gastrointestinal tract, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
It is important to remember that the point is not to cancel all types of complaints as some, when properly channeled, can be necessary and useful in developing solutions. The point is to change the automatic complaint that many people have as a regular form of communication.
5 ideas to stop complaining
1. Always focus on the solution
Just as you have caused your mind to shape it into a pattern of complaints, it is possible to turn it around.
A common tendency for people to complain is that this behavior, which lasts over time, leads to catastrophic or daunting thoughts. It is not even harmless if the plaintiff appears to be a simple observation, as that dynamic contains judgments, assumptions, and qualifications about the subject. If we add the tone of expression and the varying degrees of altered emotionality, we have a pure complaint.
The tool to change this perspective is to focus on the solution. Mental training can slow down the urge to complain. Once you get into the habit of solving problems, the complaint will subside.
2. Think of alternative scenarios
For those who find it difficult to focus on finding a solution right away, the idea is that once the reason for the complaint has been identified, possible alternatives are brought up in their minds. This means that given the weight and the consequences of ailments in life, it is preferable to look for other ways to replace them.
Questions can be very helpful: What am I complaining about? What is the reason for my complaint? What's the use of complaining? What alternatives do I have? How will I feel if I don't complain? That way, you'll find more sense in channeling a new form of behavior.
3. Check the reverse process for the reason for your complaint
This tool suggests stopping any kind of thinking that is fueling the complaint. The first step is braking; Coach Tim Gallwey's STOP technique can help you with this (S = stop, T = thinking / thinking, O = observing, P = continuing / acting).
When the complaint tendency has stopped, consider what would happen if things were not what you think or imagine. It is a technique of "arguing against" within the mental model you have so that you can review what would happen in another schema. If you take this to a deeper level of analysis, the whining impulse fades into the background. Through continuous practice, it is possible to reduce the behavior of the complaint and even eliminate it.
4. Ask yourself, "What if I complain?"
People do everything to make a profit. Apparently, even if it looks like you don't have it, you may find it beneficial. That's why it's all about playing in your favor.
This exercise is about becoming self-aware and redirecting one harmful behavior to another that gives you different perspectives focused on encouraging change or solutions.
You will need a notebook and a pencil to exercise. Then, ask yourself openly what you will gain from complaining and immediately make a detailed list of all the details of the complaint that came from your inner voice or from your words. Go through the process as deeply as you'd like. They will then put this list aside for at least an hour and reread it to see if your winning motives are still "true" with your complaint.
5. Work towards accepting what you cannot change and changing what is within your reach
"Everything that we do not accept is the basis of suffering," says the Colombian philosopher Gerardo Schmedling. Therefore, in situations that you cannot change and where positive intervention is impossible, it is necessary to practice unconditional acceptance.
Accepting does not mean agreeing to the facts or justifying them. When they are completely outside of your will and control, the alternative of accepting and letting go is reasonable. If you don't and turn it into a permanent complaint, this litany is like a burning coal in hand that you can toss at others: you will burn yourself. It has a high cost to you.
Remember that under all circumstances we have the opportunity to choose the attitude with which we want to face things. Leaving the complaint implies a radical change in this aspect in order to lead a less conflictual, more harmonious life that is of added value for you and for all areas in which you move.