A Healthier Way To Complain
Updated: Mar 11, 2018
Complaining may seem inevitable in life but complaining in an unhealthy way could affect your health!
I was having lunch with my dear friend last weekend as I haven't seen her for ages ever since she became a mum. We were updating each other about our recent life and she seems to be proud to have become a mother as she was happily sharing about how much she has changed since her little boy and girl was born.
Just when I was feeling very happy for her, her face changed after she read a text from her phone. That's when she started telling me about her husband whom she just had a big fight with the day before....
They had a big fight because the husband has not been communicating with her about their schedule for the weekend. She didn't expect to be going out on a Saturday because she would usually stay at home to spend time with her kids. But on that morning, without her knowledge, her husband urged her to get ready as soon as possible because they had a birthday brunch to attend. She told him that she couldn't attend because she has a chiropractic appointment in the afternoon but the husband insisted that she should join and would send her to the appointment after the party. Since her husband insisted, she quickly get the kids and herself ready. And because she has two little ones, the preparation time took longer and they were late for the party.
And because they were running late, the husband drove fast without taking into consideration the safety of his kids. So my dear friends reminded him to slow down but this caused him to drive even more aggressively. My dear friend became angry but she kept quiet because she know that was not the right time to pick a fight.
When the party was over, she wanted to have a conversation with the husband about how things went wrong. Their timing were off because he didn't inform her earlier about the party. And with two kids, they would usually need more time to prepare. She felt very upset because the husband was putting their kids in danger when he was driving madly, she thought he didn't need to do so even though he was angry.
She told me that this wasn't the first time it happens. It has happened a lot of time and she couldn't understand why the husband couldn't make effort to communicate but merely demand her to do things.
Just when I was about to say something to her, she said:
"But this is just ONE bad habit of his; otherwise he is a good dad and a good husband."
I smiled and can't wait to listen further.
"He has been so lovely, he brought my parents for holiday when I was working in oversea. How amazing was that?"
"Yes he may have bad temper and he likes to boss around but there are a lot of good things about him too. Maybe I should pay more attention to the 9 other good things that he has done than magnifying this one problem of his."
I like how my friend ended her complaint. Yes she may be very upset and angry with her husband because of his misbehaviour and attitude, but she didn't fixate on it and ended her complaint with positive statements about her husband instead.
And this is what I would call a "healthy complaint".
Never end a conversation with a negative statement because when you do so, you are constantly flooding your blood stream with cortisol. And when your body is flooded with cortisol for too long, you are likely to experience symptoms such as high blood pressure, skin problem, mood swing, inflammation issue and many more. That's because, every time you complain about a past event, your body wouldn't know whether it's the past or present, it merely allows you to relive the moment and enables you to experience that same negative emotions over and over again. So imagine talking about the same complaint for 20 times .....
In life, it is inevitable to have the need to vent our dissatisfaction but the next time you vent, try to do it more healthily. How?
(1) Why are you venting?
It's important to know why are you venting. Are you venting because you want to get the anger out of your chest and find solutions? Or are you venting because you just want to have a conversation with people? Or perhaps it's merely a habit? Use your energy wisely, do not waste it on complaining just for the sake of complaining as you are wasting your cortisol in your body which can be depleted and cause a lot of severe health problem.
The next time you complain, set the intention to vent out the frustration once and for all. That means, after you have talked about your frustration or anger with your friends, then let it go there and then; quit talking about it again later. If you feel that even after venting you don't feel better, find the right person to seek for solution. Vent with a healthy intention. Never vent to hurt yourself or your listener.
(2) Be considerate, your listener might be affected too!
Venting may feel good to you, but as you vent, the listener who is listening to your story may have cortisol flooding in his/her blood stream too because he/she might be worrying, or feeling upset for you. Be kind, be considerate, use your words wisely as you are venting your frustration. And remind your listener that you are just letting out your frustrations, there is no need for him/her to feel worry for you.
(3) Always end your complaint with a positive statement
This is the most important part! Always end your complaint with a positive statement just like how my friend did. Yes she was very angry, she was upset and she didn't like her husband's behaviour; yet she was able to shift her mind to remember his other strength and good things that he has done for the family. No one is perfect, nothing is perfect. If you fixate on the bad, you will only see and experience the bad; but there is always good AND bad in everything, you cannot escape that.
Learn to be kind to yourself; choose to think, see and speak in a way that benefit YOU, your health and your life! Learn to complain healthily.