I double dare you not to whine or complain for a day WITHOUT playing hooky from work or going to the spa, Hawaii or some other wonderful place where things are easy-breezy-pleasy.
Yes, I know that every day something will legitimately grind on nerves and scream for your two cents—bad weather or traffic, unexpected bills or expenses, co-workers or family, [fill in the blank], but aren’t you tired of being so easily ejected from our happy places by events, circumstances and people?
When we quit moaning and groaning, we’re happier, more at peace and more productive. Others breathe easier too with less gunk in the atmosphere to choke on. The vibe in my office improved immediately after a super whiney co-worker retired six months ago. Even on a sunny-Friday-payday she found any eensy-weensy thing to complain about and we’re effing glad she’s gone.
To have the best life possible, it’s necessary to let go of who you’ve been to make space for who you can be, so if complaining is a chronic problem, throw everything you have at it. Just see if you can do it one day and if you can, see if it makes a positive difference and if it does, try it another day, and so on. Here’s how:
Silence is golden. Your mama probably said not to say anything unless you had something good to say, and it wasn’t bad advice because once the gripe is airborne, it’s all downhill from there. So, if you feel a sniveling smoke monster forming in your throat, quickly zip those lips.
Boss your brain. Last year a friend said, “I can’t believe all the crap in my head today, and I just left yoga class!” I laughed because that’s me, you and everyone we know sometimes. The times irritations arise and we let them rule us. Try and try again to get another angle on what’s making you miserable and flip the script with one of these attitude-adjustment mantras: That’s interesting. That’s not so bad. I can handle this.
Gratitude. Most of us bellyache about silly things like chipped nails and lines at Starbucks. Not bombs going off in our backyard or bad drinking water. Take stock often of what’s right. It may be less than you want, but it is more than some others have.
Recently my doctor said I’d probably have to stay on what I call the low-carb-I-don’t-want-no-diabetes diet she prescribed to keep my blood sugar in check. Because my siblings and many in my bloodline struggle with Type 2 diabetes and my blood sugar naturally hovers near the high end of normal although I’m sugar-free, this didn’t come as a total shock. Still, I’d hoped to get some grains and beans back, which may not sound like much unless you’ve been limited to vegetables, eggs, meat, nuts and a bit of fruit for three months. I whined a bit. Who wouldn’t? Then I remembered crossing paths in the lobby with a teary-eyed cancer patient wearing a headscarf and baggy clothes that must have fit her former self—and it sobered me right up because, in comparison, I had no problems.
Avoid other whiners. Didn’t break them, can’t fix them, and they’re just going to wear you down if allowed. When you hear grumbling or loud sighing, look away…then get away. Slap on those headphones and go to your happy place, and this is not cheating because part of your cure is to master mood-shifting.
Mind your business. Seriously. Everything isn’t for you or about you and yakking about it is a waste of time that will detract from the best-food-forward headspace required for actions that make a difference. In a weird way, unless your goal is to be a master whiner, whining is sort of like procrastination, right? Suppose you traded the whining for something actually on your To Do list. Now suppose a year from now, through your own self-restraint, you were virtually gripe free and proudly looking back on some big work or life changes.
Make guacamole, get happy. At the heart of it all, complaining is just a bad habit, and as with most bad habits, it helps to switch it out for good ones. If I’ve had a bad day, I make guacamole and savor each creamy spoonful, put on my jazz playlist, chain-light incense until I think the smoke detector is about to go off, and call it good.
Too, treasure anything that boosts your spirit. There’s a cute little old lady in my neighborhood, and in rain, sleet, hail and heat waves, she shuffles to the end of the block and back three times. It’s always one of the highlights of my day to catch her hoofing it out and although she doesn’t know it, she’s my hero.
Stop whining. Start creating.