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Will I Be Happier If I Quit Complaining?

Will I Be Happier If I Quit Complaining

I wonder if I could be happier. I’m pretty happy, but maybe there’s room for improvement. This morning, I got a gentle nudge in that direction when I opened my The Secret app, and it told me to stop complaining.

(Yes, I am the type of person who spent $4.99 on a The Secret app and consults it every morning.)

It’s true I do complain about certain things. The Secret app suggests that my continual complaining signals to the universe that it should bring me more of the things I complain about. In other words, what I think about, I bring about. I’ve read that in other places. I know from experience it’s true.

So, I decided to cut down on my complaining and left the house to meet my friend for lunch.

I get another nudge to be happier

Out of nowhere, my friend mentioned an acquaintance who set a goal but doesn’t make progress because she is always complaining about her past. “Nothing’s ever going to change for her. She keeps getting what she got,” my friend said.

I took this conversation as another sign that it’s time for me to stop complaining.

The thing is, I don’t know if I can do it. Sometimes I like to complain. It’s a warped kind of fun. But, since I’d like to bring about even better things, it would be wise to be more conscious of the words that come out of my mouth.

Could it be dangerous to stop complaining?

My friend and I discussed this: maybe my efforts to be happier will cause me to bottle up dangerous emotions and give myself a heart attack. But I’m an EFT practitioner, so the obvious solution is not to bottle up my feelings but to tap on them when things start getting to me. It’s just a matter of replacing a bad habit with a good one.

That said, I rarely do anything without doing a little research first, so I Googled around for information about other people who’ve tried to stop whining. I stumbled upon the website of Will Bowen, who calls himself the World Authority on Complaining. He even wrote a book on the subject.

Apparently, I’m the only person in the world who never heard of this guy because his website has photos of everybody from Maya Angelou to Dr. Oz smiling it up with him.

His site also features a positivity test, which I took. I scored a 93, which means I was right. There is definitely room for improvement. Okay, then. I’m going to stop complaining starting right now. Really. You have my word. Wish me luck.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Are you a complainer? Have you ever tried to stop? What happened? Please let me know in the comments. And, if you liked this post, please share it!

How to Be Happier Tomorrow

Be Happier

You can be happier tomorrow if you do one thing: Wake up fifteen minutes earlier.

Are you tempted to click away? Well, hear me out, especially if you’re one of those people who hits the snooze button. Especially if you’re one of those people who looks at the alarm clock and mutters, “Shit!

(Tip: If you ever want to be happy, the first word out of your mouth in the morning should not be “shit.”)

So, tonight, go to sleep a little earlier. Tape Colbert, for Pete’s sake. Go to bed.

Set your alarm for fifteen minutes earlier than usual. Drag yourself out of bed. Make your coffee. Then go into an empty room and enjoy the silence. Seriously, just sit there. If there’s a window in the room, all the better. Watch the light change beyond it. Watch the beginning of a new day.

You may want to close your eyes and meditate. Or sit in silence and actually taste your coffee. Or pray and read a Bible passage. Or write affirmations. Or read a healing book.

As long as it’s quiet, it’s good.

I didn’t used to do this, and I was not so happy

Years ago, when I worked in publishing and caught the railroad into Manhattan, I got up at the last possible minute and appeared on the platform with damp hair, dying for a cup of coffee. My routine was: Shower, dress, rush to the station, sprint across town, hit the deli for coffee and bagel, wait for elevator.

I’d barely have unwrapped my bagel when some individual appeared in my office doorway to demand something. Or complain about her commute. Or complain about his wife. (Or, in one case, tell me about the sex between him and his wife, which put me off the bagel altogether.)

After I had children, the routine changed a bit. I slept in later (my children, thank God, were late sleepers), and I’d wake up when they did. Then I’d get out of bed, feed them, change them, and play with them. I’d shower and make myself presentable, but their needs always took precedence over my own.

In both cases, while working outside and inside my home, I felt my life didn’t really belong to me. I felt under things, instead of on top of them. All I thought about was my to-do list and how little time I had to check everything off. Rude people bothered me more than was reasonable.

In publishing, I never missed a deadline. I won the position, according to the secretary there, over “a parade of applicants” because I was good and indicated I wanted to get even better. I loved my work and took it seriously.

However, I did have a flaw. My boss had a term for it. He said I was reactive.

Being reactive didn’t help me to be happier

I raced through my days by the seat of my pants. I did not give time to myself. This was a mistake. Whether you’re an executive or a stay-at-home parent, you must give time to yourself. It will change everything.

When you’re jumping out of bed at the last minute muttering, “Shit,” you can pretty much guarantee your day is not going to be great. You’re behind schedule. You’re stressed. You already have a thousand things on your mind. You get into the shower, and your scrubbing like a demon thinking about those thousand things.

Your day is not your own. You are owned by the traffic, by the unsmiling clerk in the coffee shop, by some offhand remark your boss makes, or some stupid inquiry from a woman in the playground regarding the slow growth of your toddler’s teeth. You are reactive. You are out of control.

And you are not alone.

The Grab and Go culture is a disease

Marketers are onto you. They have adapted products and advertising to exploit you and your harried lifestyle. They call it Grab and Go.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to live a Grab and Go Life. I wholeheartedly believe that I was not put on this planet to be short of breath and short of time.

If you, however, never want to be happier, be sure to grab and go. Be sure to drink your soup out of a microwavable sippy can because you bought the lie there’s no time to sit at a table and use a spoon like a proper human being.

Be sure to start your Grab and Go Day by jumping out of bed at the possible last minute muttering, “Shit!”

It’s your day. Seize it! (Gently.)

Look, you know that waking up fifteen minutes earlier is not going to lessen traffic. It’s not going to transform an unsmiling clerk into a smiling one. It’s not going to stop some woman from inquiring about your kid’s lack of teeth. It’s not going to stop a creep from telling you about his sex life.

It will, however, change the way you react to such things. Better yet, you’ll find after a little while, you don’t react so much at all. Everything changes when you give yourself time in the morning to just be. Everything changes when you give yourself the gift of thinking your own thoughts, of watching the light change beyond the window.

You will have time to put your thoughts in order. You will have time to think about your day and how you will spend it. Time will seem to expand, so that you find you’re relaxed and not always in a hurry. You will feel in control.

Really.

Please try it for a week. If you’re of those people who’s in the habit of staying up with a glass of wine after everyone else has gone to bed, drink your wine earlier and go to bed. You may think late-night time is the equivalent of early-morning time, but it really isn’t. At night, you’re unwinding. In the morning, you’re greeting the day.

And that makes all the difference. Wake up fifteen minutes earlier and take your life back. You really can be happier tomorrow.

If you liked this post, please share it! I’m curious about your morning routine. Tell me about it in the comments below.