I think we all like a bit of a grumble from time to time.
Hey, it can be cathartic, right?
But the danger is that it also sets the tone.
It not only releases negative energy, but if we’re not careful, it creates it too.
That’s why as tempting as it can be, the less we whine, the better.
With that in mind, here are 5 things in life happy people never complain about…
1) The quality of their relationships
My boyfriend is such a **fill in the expletives**.
My girlfriend is a total nightmare recently.
My friend has been so moody and mean the last few times we met.
Maybe it’s true, but bitching behind someone’s back isn’t going to solve it.
Deep down, I think we always know that too.
But it can feel like an easier way to release frustrations than having to deal with things constructively.
Happy people don’t complain about their relationships for several significant reasons:
- When problems arise, they’d rather talk directly to the person (not about them behind their backs). That way they can work through their issues.
- For the sake of their connections, they strive to appreciate the good in people, rather than go looking for the bad. This helps them cut people slack and accept we’ll all have bad days.
- If a relationship becomes unhealthy or toxic, they’ll cut it off. For the sake of their own happiness and well-being, they know boundaries and self-preservation are also important.
2) The weather, and how “horrible”, “miserable” or “terrible” it is
Ok, admittedly I am British, so it’s virtually biologically impossible for me not to talk about the weather.
Culturally, I’m not sure we’d even know what to talk about if weather-related topics were off the table.
But my point is more about the language we use, and the negative labels we can throw around without even giving it any thought.
Saying the weather sucks today can seem totally harmless. I know I’m guilty of it.
But when you really think about it, rain, cloud, cold…are these “bad” weather, or are they just the weather.
Now you might think I’m being picky.
But it’s an example of how we can habitually use negative language and labels for something that in reality is neutral.
I guess my point is:
Why would we choose to put a negative spin on something?
Happy people don’t. In fact they do the opposite. They choose to put a positive spin on life.
They aren’t too quick to label things “good” or “bad”. Because it’s just a form of unnecessary resistance to whatever already is.
3) The things they cannot change and have zero control over
How many times are we told not to sweat the small stuff?
The problem is that it isn’t so easy to just drop it.
We can quickly get wound up over life’s annoyances, even when we know that it’s not a big deal.
Similarly, even when we know there is absolutely nothing we can do to change the facts or circumstances of a particular situation, we can waste hours whining about it.
And it does us no good whatsoever.
Research shows these trivialities raise our stress hormone levels by as much as 15%.
Happy people don’t necessarily have a magic solution. But they have perhaps trained themselves to be a more even-keeled person.
Things that can help when we feel under pressure include:
- Reframing the circumstances, and looking for the good even in the bad.
- Trying to put things into context so you don’t blow them out of proportion. Ask yourself, is it really a big deal?
- Staying mindful of the present moment, taking a few deep breaths and being aware of sensations in the body.
- Offering yourself positive or reassuring self-talk.
4) Their choices in life, past decisions or mistakes they feel like they made
Complaining about a situation you created is pointless, it’s far better to just own it.
Happy people don’t play the victim in life.
And that’s the thing about chronic complainers, they tend to fall effortlessly into victimhood.
They have so much to moan about, because they are always so wronged.
When anything goes wrong, it’s someone else’s fault. Life is cruel and they just can’t catch a break.
I usually refer to these types of people as “negaholics”. Because complaining seems like an addiction.
But happy people choose to empower themselves by taking full responsibility.
That means they don’t waste time complaining about their choices, decisions or even their regrets.
Because arguably there are no regrets in life, just lessons.
And happy people would rather focus their energy into the life they want to be leading and make it happen.
5) Other people’s mistakes, instead they give feedback
It can feel like there is a tricky grey area when it comes to complaining.
After all, there are clearly times in life that we need to highlight a problem or a mistake to other people.
I’m not suggesting that when we get the wrong order delivered to us at a restaurant that we should just shut up and eat it so we’re not complaining.
But there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.
The right way doesn’t feed feelings of frustration, irritation, or negativity.
Because we can complain without actually complaining. It’s just called feedback.
Politely letting your waiter know that “although this does look delicious, I actually ordered the chicken” you’re just allowing someone to correct an error.
There’s no need to go all James Corden and have a total meltdown, “yelling like crazy” about a simple order mix-up.
And this goes for any time that we need to address something.
The point is that we can still be positive in how we bring things up, rather than just turning it into a grumble fest.
To conclude: Complaining actually damages your brain
This should give us all some pause for thought:
Not only should we watch our whining for the sake of our happiness. We should do it for the sake of our brain power too.
Because research has found that complaining (or even being complained to) for just 30 minutes can physically shrink the brain.
Whatsmore it quickly becomes a habit. Because studies have also noted that we’re rewiring our brains for negativity.
Realistically, we do all need to let off steam. If we never vent, we’re in danger of suppressing emotions.
But complaining should be done mindfully and in moderation.