The 24 Hour No Complaints Challenge
I found myself with a strong sense of deja vu the other day sitting crosse legged on a mat chatting to another mom while our babies played, complaining about a lack of sleep. Not only had I just had a very similar conversation the day before at another baby group, I am pretty sure I used the exact same sentence again. Verbatim. The feeling of deja vu was quickly replaced by a sense of disgust.
Why was I sat there with only negativity to spew? I have more blessings in my life than I can even count. The most obvious of which at that moment was my son playing happily beside me. So I don’t sleep, I have a baby, I am pretty sure even strangers passing us walking along the road could have guessed that fact. Why then does it often feel like the most important topic in my life? For that matter, why do the negative components of life seem to so easily take more weight on our minds?
Because we let them.
The mental affect of focusing on the negative, talking about the negative, and thus amplifying the negative in our minds, is termed negativity spiraling. The truth about life, is that it will never be perfect. But it’s through finding a way to love life even with its imperfections that we can be happy here and now.
No More Complaints
Venting at the end of the day to your spouse seems like a good way to let off steam. But I often feel I am just giving power to those negative experiences, making them more significant in my life than they need to be. So this past Monday I stopped the negativity dead in its tracks. I took an oath to stop complaining for a 24 hour period and see how it affected my mental state.
You could have guessed the results; I was much happier at the end of the day than I had been in weeks! The two greatest outcomes were:
- I had to say something else – I realised how easily, and how quickly when someone asks you a question, or when you are in a casual conversation a complaint effervesces to your lips. I had to stop myself, and replace it with a positive comment. This took conversations in new and exciting directions, and left me feeling like the people I interacted with for the day enjoyed their time with me, however small.
- I felt more satisfied – I can be a bit of a perfectionist, so it’s all too easy for me to beat myself up about what goes wrong, instead of give myself pats on the back for all I get right. By not being able to complain to others, my entire mindset started to shift. The negative started to lose its hold on me, and at the end of the day I smiled a sweet smile of satisfaction at all I had done, despite everything not going to plan.
The Next Step
I would love to challenge all our readers to a 24 hour No Complaint Challenge! See what a simple change one day can do for your happiness levels! I plan on trying a whole week, and seeing if I can even begin to remove the complaints from my internal dialogue. My hope is to retrain my brain to focus on the positive.
Give it a go and please let us know how you get on.
Main photo by Vittorio Ferrari.