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No Complaints: The Ultimate Self-Improvement Technique

Posted by Brian Spence on Jul 8, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Self-Improvement, Career AdviceWhen it comes to self-improvement, many of us can identify a bad habit we want to break. From spending too much time on our smartphones, or spending too much time at work, we all have something that we can identify as a source for stress --but how about complaining?

How many of us have identified complaining as our bad habit?

The Complaint Restraint Project is a social behavior experiment where thousands of people are tracking their habit of negative talking, and eliminating it from their conversations. Jon Gordan, author of The No Complaining Rule, found in his research that complaining releases stress hormones that actually hurt your health. But while you shouldn't stop complaining completely--research has shown that bottling up emotions can shorten our lifespan by an average of two years --there are ways to challenge negative thinking and complaining, and turning it into a productive source.

There are ways to turn this behavior around. First, we have to acknowledge our complaining on a daily basis, and track how much we do it every day. Once we know what we complain about, and how often, we can think about changing our behavior to instead look on the bright side and provide solutions to our problems. A lot of complaining comes from a feeling of wanting to avoid something, especially something that is stressful or time-consuming. But learning instead to appreciate what we are doing--turning "have to" statement into "get to" statements, for example--gives us a fresher perspective on life. In addition, we'll get more energy to do those projects that we've been putting off or avoiding through our complaining.

Try not complaining for a week, or even a day, and let us know how it goes! For more information on this and related topics, visit the Self-improvement or Career Advice sections of our blog.


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Topics: Career Advice, Self-Improvement

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