Are you grateful and do you share thankful recognition, or do you spend more time and energy offering criticism, disapproval, or condemnation? When’s the last time you took a moment to reflect on the things you appreciate at home and work? Do you spend more time complaining or appreciating? When you complain, are you doing it to problem-solve or to vent? When we vent, we’re admitting to being powerless and ineffectual. This may negatively affect your mental state, stress levels, and general health.
“We all complain many times a day to our families, friends, co-workers, customer service representatives, and even strangers in the elevator. But what many of us don’t realize is that how we voice our complaints can have huge implications for our mental health.”
While complaining simply to vent may be damaging to our mental health, complaining for problem-solving can be the opposite. Last week, my wife called customer service for a credit card we use. She’d missed paying off the monthly total by 22 cents, and we were charged $39 in interest. My wife began her problem-solving by saying the company was right to charge the interest because we didn’t pay the total monthly charges. She went on to explain how loyal a customer we are, and the CSR agreed. Her problem-solving complaint resulted in the charge being removed. How do you think my wife felt about that? Complaining for problem-solving can be good for your outlook, mental health, and overall well-being.
Is the opposite true? If venting affects our health in a bad way, does appreciation affect it positively? Yes. Suite 101 shared this about the healing effects of gratitude: “The healing effects of gratitude can be seen in the form of healthier relationships, increased financial abundance, blossoming careers and improved health.”
Are you a complainer? Do you appreciate the good things and people around you as much as you should? If not, here’s your action plan for change: Every day, for the next 21 days, use one of these sentences and live by them.
• Thank you, I want you to know I don’t take what you do for granted.
• What I most appreciate about you is __________.
• What I most appreciate about myself today is _________.
• What I most like about _______ is __________.
• My favorite thing in the world is __________.
• Do you know how much what you do means to me?
• I couldn’t have done it without you.
Only 21 days, one sentence each day, real and from the heart. I’m in — how about you?