Blogger: Janis Gaudelli – “The Champion of Truths, Unicorns & AWE-tism”
In my past blogs, I have shared ad nauseam how I am a tried and true gratitude-er. My daily practice is as sacred to me as my morning cup of coffee. Gratitude enhances everything good and releases the anchor(s) weighing you down. One of the anchors I struggle with this time of year is good ol’ bitching and complaining. Complaining becomes my default approach to communicating.
Ever since I started practicing gratitude, I have found very little to complain about, but there are three months out of the year that are difficult for me. Specifically, January through March, aka Winter. Winter challenges my strong sense of gratitude and makes me downright bitchy. The cold makes me irritable. The snow becomes a nuisance. Everything is staticky, dry and just God-awful.
There’s that bitchin’ I was talking about.
If you live in the Northeast like I do, winter is inevitable, so I should be used to this, right? I am so tired of feeling this way. It’s time for me to snap out of my wintery funk and quit my bitching.
Thus far in 2019, I have given up sugar. Now, I am here to announce my plan to go bitch-free (or at least bitch-less) for the next 21 Days. I wanted to get to the bottom of what it exactly means to complain by unwrapping its meaning. Complaining is when we blame others, or life, instead of accepting the situation and taking responsibility to make things better.
Complaining is basically the grown-up version of whining: it’s an expression of powerlessness. And who wants to feel powerless? It’s a natural human instinct to complain about people, places, or things (like winter) that make life difficult. But have you ever noticed how often we bitch? If you’re like me (from January through March), it’s more frequent than I care to admit. Research has shown that the average person complains 30 times a day! Armed with that stat, I began to document the # of times I bitched for three consecutive days. I included verbal complaints, those on social media, and of course my bitchy thoughts. Here’s where I netted out:
Day 1: 11 verbal complaints, 7 social media complaints (i.e. I posted a complaint, or I complained on someone else’s post), involved in 2 conversations where the other person was complaining, and 7 bitchy thoughts.
Day 2: 7 verbal complaints, 4 social media complaints, 2 conversations, 8 thoughts.
Day 3: 3 verbal complaints, 1 social media complaint, 1 conversation, 4 complaining thoughts
Do you notice a pattern here? My complaining began to decrease (for the most part) because I was paying attention. Worth noting that I was off from work on Day 3, which tells me that the cause of much of my bitching is work (this is probably true for many people).
Let me very clear here: I don’t think it’s humanly possible to never complain. In fact, I am suspect of those people who are always positive and complaint-free. Shit happens, and a natural reaction is to bitch about said shit. But by observing people for a living, and now checking myself, it seems we have taken up complaining as an Olympic sport.
Complaining is also bad for our health, y’all. When we complain, our body releases extra cortisol, and that impairs our immune systems. Believe it or not, complaining makes us more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, and even makes the brain more vulnerable to strokes. Other harmful effects that might want to make you quit bitchin’ include increased stress, depleted energy, and heightened depression and anxiety. Not to mention it impacts our relationships and chips away at our self-esteem. Crazy, right? The words we speak and thoughts we absorb are powerful, friends.
So, how do we stop this madness from affecting our overall health and making us miserable to be around? As you may have guessed, I did my research. There are legit no-complaining challenges out there (which I will cover later), but here are some common-sense basics if you’re not into challenges:
- Catch your complaints. Much like I did during that three-day trial, pay attention to when you complain, the source of your complaint, and who you’re complaining to. Remember: complaining is just not what you say verbally, it’s your social media posts/comments, as well as your negative thoughts. I know this is easier said than done, but it’s the only way to really know how often and why you’re complaining.
- Pay attention to the triggers. Are you complaining about a certain person all the time? Try limiting your time with them. Do you bitch mostly at work? Tell your co-workers to call you out when you do. Are you always complaining about your kids, parenting, etc.? You’re on your own there (hahaha).
- Watch who you surround yourself with. Complaining is contagious. Once I started practicing gratitude and began to complain less, I became sensitive to the people and situations when bitching went off the rails. I didn’t judge those people. I was one of them, and again, they’re human. I just knew I needed to limit my time speaking with them and putting myself in certain situations.
- If there is something worth complaining about (let’s face it, sometimes it’s warranted), approach it with a solution. Have a clear understanding of what needs to change. I’ll give you an example: my son has anxiety and triggers include changes in routine and other children’s verbal stims/outbursts/crying, etc. Last year, we went through a few sucky months trying to curb it, and with that came my bitching. Legitimate bitching? Hell yes. Thing is, I knew just complaining about it wasn’t going to fix the problem. Instead, I wrangled his team of experts (teachers, therapists, school psychologist, etc.) and we came up with a plan. Within a month of putting that plan in place, my son’s anxiety decreased significantly– and so did my complaining.
Successfully decreasing bitch-fests means being more mindful. Paying attention. Listening to yourself and those around you. Leaning into the solution to whatever you’re bitching about.
Now, if you’re into challenges like I am, I uncovered many. In researching different “Complain-Free” challenges, I came across a common thread: no complaining begets happiness. The people who have had success with these challenges all claim to be less-stressed, more productive and happier. Sign me up!
The father of the most popular and publicized no complaint challenge is William Bowden. His idea of going 21-Days complaint-free has changed his life and millions of others’. I must admit it’s pretty hardcore. After digging into the details, I found it to be a bit too restrictive for me (but it might be just right for you.) Check it out here: https://www.willbowen.com/complaintfree/
I continued my search for a No-Complaint challenge that I felt was more aligned with my humanness. Seek, and the challenge appears. Ladies and Gents, I present to you “THE 21-DAY BITCH-FREE CHALLENGE”!
Here’s the game-changer: if a complaint comes to mind (and you know it will), acknowledge it, then think of how to verbalize that complaint in a more positive way. For instance, I tend to complain about how sore my body is after workouts. So, instead of saying, “Ugh, I’m so sore!”, I can reframe it to be more positive: “That was a good workout yesterday – I can really feel it!”.
This, my friends, is totally doable and worth a try. What have we got to lose (except a helluva lot of bitching and complaining)?! You with me? Let’s go.
Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels. She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways. Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living. Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 7-year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.