Leading a joyful life does not mean always trying to be happy, or pretending that we don’t sometimes feel annoyed, disappointed, irritated, or hassled. These days, I try not to fake happiness…ever.
At the same time, I’m not really one for complaining. When I was in my twenties, I complained nearly constantly. My best friend used to make bets with me that I couldn’t go even one month without complaining about the weather in Chicago. He was right — I couldn’t do it, even though that was the year that I’d landed a dream job and had every reason I needed NOT to complain constantly. But complaining was a bad habit that was easy, and in a weird way, rewarding. I could always find something to say by complaining about the weather (because in Chicago, it is always too hot or too cold to us Californians).
But complaining is a bad habit that threatens our health, happiness, and success. Consistent complainers get sick more often and don’t do as well in their jobs as their more positive counterparts — and their relationships tend to be shorter and less satisfying. Perhaps because they are so miserable to be around!
Complaining trains your brain to see something negative as the most relevant thing to be commented on, and this negative filter can lead to greater and greater pessimism. Complaining can make your brain feel like you are doing something about a problem, when in fact you aren’t taking action at all.
Want to get out of a complaining habit? I created a little action plan for Self.com here that you might be interested in. In addition, it isn’t too late to start my free 90-day coaching program which aims to help you get into a new habit that sticks.