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How to Stop Complaining and Start being Grateful

Gratitude habit

Being grateful builds resilience

I spotted the image above as l flicked through my Facebook timeline today. It made me laugh, then it made me think… why is it we seem quicker to complain than we are to express gratitude? We all complain. Even those of you who believe you’re the happiest, most grateful, of people you probably complain sometimes.

“Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.” - Proverb

We sometimes complain without even realising we’re doing it, is it really ever helpful – unless of course you’ve had a bad meal in a restaurant, or brought something that was faulty? – in fact, it can be really draining. We all have that one friend, the one who complains constantly about their health, their family, their relationships, work... Every time you see them you feel exhausted and dragged down by their negativity.

What happens if you are the one stuck in a negative attitude? We’ve all been there, I know I have. There are days when everything seems to go wrong, or you just wake up in a bad mood and complaining is the easiest thing to do.

But if you put your mind to adopting a more positive outlook and stop yourself from complaining, it can make life so much happier all around and helps you to build your personal resilience. The Telegraph recently ran a piece “Gratitude: the latest self-help trend that could change your life” that is also worth a read.

We thought we’d give you some tips on how to stop being so quick to complain and find a happier, more grateful attitude.

1. Think about things differently

Of course, this is easier said than done. Most of us tend to gravitate toward the negative. Much like the quote above, we are bothered first by the thorns in the rose bush instead of being marvelled by the sight of the beautiful roses.

Try practicing being mindful. When you find yourself thinking or saying a negative thing about something or someone, stop and make yourself say something positive instead. You can also ask a cheerful friend to stop you when you complain and help you to see the positive in the situation.

2. Write a list of things you’re grateful for

Take some time to think of all the great things and amazing people in your life, remind yourself of how grateful you are for them and this will probably put any trivial complaints you had to rest.

3. Find what makes you happy

This list may be simple, full of people and pastimes or hobbies that you enjoy. Sometimes it may require some deeper thought. If you’re always complaining about your job it could be time to make the decision to move on to another job, or even career. If you think about what your most common complaints are you can try to change the situation in order to make you happy. Or at least, happier.

4. Ask yourself “would I rather complain, or be grateful and happy?”

Choose gratitude and happiness – unless, as mentioned above, you’ve had a bad meal or received faulty goods etc. If you find yourself of a mind to complain about your lot, try asking yourself these questions. If you’re focusing on the positive, and doing your best to be kind, you should find yourself needing to ask these question less and less.

5. Take time for you

It’s inevitable that we’ll all experience periods of stress in our busy but do whatever you can to prevent it breaking your positive spirit. Take time out just for you, go to the cinema or theatre, have a bath, go to an exercise class, get a manicure, play sports, or join a choir like me! Do whatever relaxes and energises you to get back on an even, and positive, keel.

We hope these tips help you to think more about being grateful and happy, and less about complaining. There’s always something to be grateful for - for me, right now, it’s that I’ve finished this blog and can think about going to bed to read the next chapter in the book I’m reading. What are you grateful for?

Building resilience


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