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How to Break the Complaining Habit

Let’s define complaining as being unhappy, dissatisfied or annoyed by something or by someone. Complaining is when we blame others, or life, instead of accepting the situation and taking responsibility to make things better. Researchers say the average person complains 30 times a day. The question is what benefit do we get out of complaining. Is it just a way to vent our displeasure? Or is it a constant focus on a negative situation that we may have no control over, or has no specific solution. It becomes a better strategy to take action to change the situation or stop allowing it to bother us.

Accepting the situation we complain about may be another solution. So why ruminate on it. Once you become aware that you are complaining it becomes your choice to continue. You may want to change the way you are thinking about what you are complaining about. Some research suggests that making a habit of complaining can “re-wire” the brain so that those particular thinking orientations become ingrained.

Complaining can relieve pressure and be a stress releaser, but may also alienate friends and family. Stop looking for validation in your complaint and get in touch with how it makes you feel. It’s not about

changing someone, but reframing the situation in a way you can learn about yourself. Yes it’s about how you react to the situation. That may be the only thing you can change. So train your brain to be optimistic

and positive because (according to 30+ years of longitudinal research conducted by Duke University and the Mayo Clinic), it will literally add years to your life.


1. Be aware and recognize that you are complaining

2. Increase your desire and have the intention to stop

3. See a red stop sign in your mind before or after you complain

4. Seek a positive solution

5. Think about 3 things you are grateful for

6. Reframe how you see the situation

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