Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Whether it’s something important such as family or work, or something more trivial such as a losing streak by your favorite sports team, it seems there is always an abundance of things to complain about.
Complaining might help you feel better for a minute or two, but what does it really accomplish?
If anything, complaining about a problem only adds to it. Focusing on your complaints rarely, if ever, changes the outcome of an issue and turns it into a big waste of time and energy.
Here’s a thought: Instead of wasting energy complaining about this or that, why not use that energy to stay positive and show some gratitude? Not only will this help you feel better than complaining ever will, but it can also have a positive effect on those around you.
That’s easier said than done, of course, especially in the heat of the moment. Here are 10 tools that can help you stay gracious and positive and get you out of the pointless habit of complaining.
If you’re a chronic complainer, the No Complaining Project was built for you. The basis of the site is to teach you that the first step to improving your life and experiencing more happiness is to stop complaining and blaming others.
The site features a number of helpful blog entries, including one about dealing with stress rather than complaining about it, and another about reading the news without freaking out. After all, as Go NoCo notes, chronic complaining increases stress and depression, cuts into productivity, stifles creativity and damages relationships.
Way of Life (iOS)
If complaining is one of your worst habits, the Way of Life app will let you know. The concept of the app is to identify and eliminate your negative habits, while also creating new, more positive habits.
There are no restrictions to what the app can track, including exercise patterns, food intake or sleeping patterns. That means you can set it up to track how many times per day you feel the uncontrollable urge to complain about that cubicle neighbor who just can’t seem to use an indoor voice.
The app also includes a handy reminder feature, so you can stop complaining about being late or missing a deadline.
While the app is free to download, you’ll need to pay $4.99 if you want to access the additional features that come with the premium version.
Download: Way of Life for iOS (Free)
The website Becoming Minimalist touches on all sorts of subjects, including a section on how to complain less.
These three are among the site’s insights about complaining:
- It can negatively impact the attitude of those around you.
- It makes you appear you’re playing the victim card.
- It doesn’t change whatever circumstance you’re complaining about.
Instead, the site advises readers to embrace the fact that the world is an imperfect place, and to understand the difference between complaining and constructive criticism.
In addition to its tips on complaining, Becoming Minimalist offers a wide variety of lifestyle features aimed at making your life easier and more enjoyable. It’s hard to complain about that.
The No Complaining Rule
Not to be confused with The No Complaining Project above, this book comes from The Jon Gordon Companies and features practical ideas and strategies to transform you from a constant complainer into a positive leader. The No Complaining Rule suggests, among other nuggets of wisdom, to spend less time and energy on problems and more time and energy working on solutions.
For the workplace, the site features the basic rule, which reads:
“Employees are not allowed to mindlessly complain to their coworkers. If they have a problem or complaint about their job, their company, their customer, or anything else, they are encouraged to bring the issue to their manager or someone who is in a position to address the complaint. However, the employees must share one or two possible solutions to their complaint as well.”
Although the site is unique in that it specifically approaches how to stop complaining at work, the tips you’ll find on the site and in the book will help you outside of the office too.
Freshmind (iOS) [No Longer Available]
Even if you’re trying your best to avoid complaining at all costs, there still may be situations that arise where it will seem unavoidable. If that happens to you, drop everything and open the Freshmind app.
Freshmind is all about meditation, optimized for those of us who don’t have time to squeeze an hour-and-a-half yoga session into our day. It focuses on quick and easy five-minute meditations, which can help you refocus and get on with your day.
The app features meditations for a number of situations, including anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation, excessive food cravings and motivation. There are also a variety of calming sound effects and musical selections that will help take you from Negative Town to Positive-ville.
The free version of the app comes with four tracks to help you relax, but if you want access to all the meditations or other app features you’ll need to pay an in-app fee of $3.99 (unlocks all meditations) or $9.99 (unlocks everything).
Download: Freshmind for iOS (Free)
Sometimes a name says it all, and that is certainly the case with the Gratitude app. Its purpose is to get you to rewire your brain and focus on everything that’s good in your life, rather than complaining about every little bad thing.
The app is another habit-builder, and in a good way. It wants to get you out of the habit of complaining and into the habit of showing gratitude. The app asks you to jot down five good things about your life. The thinking here is that when you focus repeatedly on something positive, your brain trains itself to do so more effortlessly in the future.
Download: Gratitude for iOS ($2.99)
The Free Affirmations website is a great online resource where you can quickly and easily divert your attention from complaining. Like many of the other tools on your list, the site can be used to train your brain to automatically default to positive habits rather than negative ones.
The site has a number of verbal affirmations you can read to yourself, such as “I always think positively,” or “I am able to deal with stress appropriately.” It may sound funny, but it’s amazing what focusing on these statements for a minute or two can do to change your attitude.
The Complaint Project is a website that offers a brilliant tip to help you stop complaining and stay positive: use the power of your phone’s built-in alarm clock.
The idea is to set up alerts throughout the day that will keep you positive and perhaps provide a smile. You can customize your alarm to play an uplifting song, or even an audio quote or joke that will keep you moving through your day.
In addition to that tip, The Complaint Project offers a number of other resources for self-motivation and the art of avoiding complaining. One of the most helpful is the 21-Day Complaint Challenge. This free tutorial offers tools and tips to help you live a complaint-free life in only 21 days.
Coach.me (iOS and Android)
Coach.me offers a number of different services based on the level of coaching you might need.
But don’t be alarmed when you see the price tag for the leadership and habit coaching plan, the Coach.me habit-tracking app is free and still offers a ton of advice you can use to turn gratitude into a habit. It’s another tool that will help you track all your habits, both negative and positive, and nudge you toward implementing more positivity into your life.
Download: Coach.me for iOS (Free) | Android (Free)
How Would Complaining Less Change Your Life?
You might not realize how much you complain about menial things in your life until you try to stop. You’d probably be surprised to see how much energy, time and good feelings get sapped away by little complaints each day.
When it comes to complaining, only you can make yourself stop. Yet there’s nothing wrong with getting a little help or motivation along the way, and any one of these nine tools will help you do just that.
Which one will you try out first? Tell us in the comments section below!