Word of Encouragement: Counselor’s Corner: How to Stop Complaining and Become More Thankful
Life can be stressful and complaining can seem like a release to our stressful situations. However, complaining is not only a sin but it affects our brains and our physical health. Murmuring is a form of complaining that harbors a negative attitude toward a situation. Sins of the tongue that spread negative reports create an environment in which murmuring can thrive. A murmuring spirit will jump to wrong conclusions. Murmuring leads to self-pity. Murmurers feel sorry for themselves and focus on how they have been mistreated. Murmuring refuses to recognize that God can conquer any problem, and refuses to recognize that God may use negative circumstances to accomplish His glory on our lives.
Complaining releases stress and zaps our energy. Even though we believe we are releasing tension when we complain it actually releases a sense of sadness and a discontentment. Complaining fosters a negative attitude, it draws attention to the negative aspects around us. Complaining affects those around us, no one likes to hang out with a complainer! Complaining never changes the circumstance. When we complain less it shifts our focus on what is good. Gratitude can deepen as we focus on the good and not complain.
If something goes wrong in our lives, our immediate response may be to put a negative spin on it. When we complain to others about our problems we are dumping our negative emotions on them. It is okay to talk to a trusted friend or family member about a difficult situation that you may be in, but this must not become chronic and it should always end with prayer. Talking problems over with anyone should not become a habit or a way to unload upon another person. Our complaints should be taken to God first. Venting and complaining are different. Venting briefly can be okay. Venting is short and should not happen repeatedly, while complaining happens frequently and without any resolution.
How to stop complaining and become more thankful:
1. Change your thinking! See the good and positives in each situation that causes you heartache and trouble in your life. Accept your situations for what they are, leave those difficulties at the feet of Jesus and move on.
2. Be adaptable. Nothing will stay the same, change is inevitable. Your bad circumstances will eventually change. Whatever is creating problems in your life can’t last forever.
3. Live one day at a time. Live in the present moment. Stop living in the past with regret and stop projecting the future with all the “what-if” scenario’s.
4. Recognize that we will experience trials and discomfort in this life. Not every day will be difficult and not every day may be 100% good, but there is usually a balance between the two. Don’t get flustered and the days that are not comfortable, but keep pushing forward and realize without the rain, rainbows don’t come. If you feel you are being pushed to your limit, step back and sit with the Father. When you are sick and tired, the enemy will try and step you up to sin. During these times, pull back and get before God.
5. Don’t judge others. You don’t know their story and why they act the way that they do, so maybe there is a reason for their moodiness.
Everday say out loud or write in a journal what you are grateful for. Focus on what went right in your day not went wrong. Magnify the positives of your day and minimize the negatives.
Complaining can become a habit and like any habit it can be broken.
Challenge: For the next 30 days do not complain about anything not even if someone ask how you feel and you just want to download all your woe’s-don’t! Begin to see the good in EVERY situation. Yes, this will be a challenge, especially if you have some tough situations. Instead of complaining start becoming thankful for everything good in your life. See how you feel after this 30 day challenge. There is a good chance you will be less anxious, depressed, stressed and will have an increase in peace and joy.