10 Things To Do Instead Of Complaining About Your Problems

Have you ever noticed how addictive complaining can be? It starts with a few vent-sharing sessions with your bestie, and the next thing you know, you’re constantly offloading about things that could be better in your life. By doing this, you leave no room for anything good to enter! Although complaining about your problems can be a good way to help you identify what’s bothering you, if it’s all talk and no action, you’re just going to get your wheels stuck in the mud. Here are some things you can do instead of whining that are so much more productive.

1. Give The Universe A High Five.

Okay, okay, it might sound trite to say you should focus on what you’re thankful for, but practicing gratitude shifts your mindset. It gives you a greater perspective, showing you what you really have compared to what you feel your life is lacking. It also calms down your response to vent by centering yourself. Go on and give it a try.

2. Create A Complaints Box.

Usually, when we complain about things, they tend to follow a similar theme or they’re connected to the same problem. For example, if you complain about how your frenemy/sister/co-worker spoke down to you, those grievances point to the same issue: you’re tired of being belittled. By writing your complaints in a journal or box, you can get to the root of what’s bothering you so you can take productive action to change your situation.

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4. Brainstorm Solutions.

Now that you’ve got a list of your common complaints, you can tackle them and feel like you’re doing something to nip ’em in the bud. So, if you’re sick and tired of feeling talked down to by people, you can choose to do things like confront them about why they communicate in that way or you can choose to respond with humor to deflect the situation. The point is that now you have a plan of action, not just a list of grievances.

5. Check When You Complain.

It’s not just what you complain about, but when you tend to complain. Is there any pattern you can see? This is also why writing your complaints in a journal can help you. Maybe you complain when you’re feeling anxious/stressed, or when you’re hungry after a busy day. By noting this pattern, you can do something more fun than complaining, like grabbing a delicious burger from your favorite restaurant.

6. Avoid Moaning About It.

Although speaking to others about what’s bothering you can help you process the situation and get it off your chest, it’s not always healthy when it turns into constant complaining about your problems. If your friend jumps on the complaining bandwagon and you both rile each other up, this can foster negativity. Similarly, if you feel worse after complaining, that’s a sign it’s best not to blurt it out in a moment of verbal diarrhea.

7. Be Legit Happy For Others.

If you’re always getting frustrated with others, this can affect your relationships with them. Although it’s healthy to confront someone about something they’re doing to upset you, it’s also good to praise them for a job well done. If your co-worker gets the promotion you wanted or your bestie wins a vacation, it’s easy to fall into the trap of complaining, “Why not me?” Instead, congratulate others. When you do this and stop being jealous, you spread the love – and it comes back to you.

8. Choose Constructive Conflict.

In personal relationships, complaining about how your BF doesn’t do the dishes or doesn’t dress up when you go out for dinner can make you out to be the bad guy. Your partner might not even realize why you’re “nagging” them. If you have a complaint, be constructive: focus on your feelings instead of attacking them. For instance, say, “I feel hurt when I get home and the dishes are still in the sink after your boys’ night,” or “I like it when you clean up nicely for a romantic dinner – it makes me feel special.”  It’s so much more constructive.

9. Avoid Making Split-Second Judgments.

One of the reasons why we might find it easy to complain about things is that we’re quick to judge people and situations. Your new boss might seem arrogant or babysitting for your sibling might feel like it’s major stressful. Flip the script by being more positive. Your new boss might actually be really great once you get to know them and babysitting could be a new experience that susses out your feelings about motherhood.

10. Find Happiness In The Moment.

Distracting yourself with something that makes you smile when you’re about to start rambling off complaints is a good idea. Put on some Taylor Swift music, watch a YouTube cat video, or dance in your living room. Whatever it is that you can think of in the moment, do it and you’ll train your brain to choose what makes you happy instead of what makes you feel stressed.

11. Give Yourself A Five-Minute Complaining Session.

If you simply can’t keep those negative thoughts from wrecking your day, don’t keep them trapped inside you – that’s no good. Give yourself five minutes (no more, even if you’re tempted!) to vent, whether to yourself, your friend, or a therapist. Then, take a deep breath and do one of the other things on our list so complaining doesn’t become a bad habit.

Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.