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How to stop complaining: free tools and worksheets
- Hang up our No Complaining Poster in your office at work, at the coffee machine or wherever you are surrounded by negativity and gossiping.
- Make requests, rather than complain!
Complaint: You never help me clean up at home!
Request: (made during a quiet, peaceful time, not while you’re upset and emotionally charged!) I’d like to make a request. Do you have a minute? (pause) Could you clean up your own things when you are done with them? This will help me take care of the kid’s things and would leave me time to play with them.
- The AND vs. the End.
Of course, sometimes in your life you have to complain. At work when your project is in trouble because of a team not delivering. At home when your partner is not picking up his socks.
When you catch yourself complaining, you can still change the END mid-sentence to make it a non-complaint.
Just continue your phrase with AND…and offer a solution to the problem.
So instead of saying to your boss:”I can’t deliver the project on time because team X is not providing me with the necessary information.” why not continue that phrase and say “…AND I will provide them with the following tools to speed up their work so that we can catch up for lost time.”
- The BUT technique.
This is similar to #3. When you are in the middle of a complaint, turn it around by adding BUT and focusing on something positive. Example: I don’t like having to drive to work for 1 hour…BUT…it allows me to listen to my favorite audiobooks on the way.
- Practice Gratitude.
Research shows that when we count three blessings a day, we get a measurable boost in happiness that uplifts and energizes us. It’s also physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time. If you are focusing on being thankful, you can’t be negative.
So every evening, write down 5 things you are happy about and thankful for. Why 5? Because three is easy. And 10 is too much. Some days even 5 will be challenge.
Here is a Daily Gratitude worksheet for you to print to help you on your way.
- HAVE TO versus GET TO
When we complain we use sentences like “I Have To do this or that.” Well, strictly speaking you don’t really HAVE TO do anything. And ‘have to’ implies you have no control or someone forces you – which is negative. So instead try to use ‘I Get To do this or that.’
Example: I HAVE TO go to work… or I GET TO go to work (while so many people have no job at all!). It focuses your energy on the positive side of things.
- Letting Go.
Try to focus on the things that you can change, and let go of the things that are beyond your control. Things start shifting when you stop trying to control everything and somehow it all works out.
- Focus on what’s right.
Instead of complaining about what someone is doing wrong, start focusing on what that person is doing right. You could even praise him/her. Praise usually creates more success as a result. Of course you have to point out their mistakes so they can learn and grow, but try to give 3 times as much praise as criticism.
- Relax and recharge.
Scientific research shows that daily practices of relaxation, stillness or meditation reduce stress; boost positive energy; and promote health, vitality, and longevity. When you feel like complaining or are stressed out, stop, breathe, be still, go for a walk.