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Try a 21-day moaning detox

Do you feel that you or someone you know is always whinging or being negative about something, be it the weather, their course, their hangover, the amount of work they have to do, their hair or the bus? Do you recognise that moaning leads to a spiral of misery? If so, November is the time to quit moaning.

Will Bowen, an American preacher, has founded a movement called A Complaint Free World. He challenges everybody to give up moaning for 21 days. Over ten million people have taken up this challenge and are sporting the purple wristbands to indicate to the world that they are complaint free. So just how difficult can it be?

I like to consider myself a fairly positive person but I have noticed that once you start finding things that are wrong, you find more and more of the same. Psychologists have explained this using an analogy of buying a blue car. Once you have a particular type or colour of car, you start to notice all others of the same kind. They have always been there, but now you focus on them.

It is the same with negativity. If you pay attention to something negative and moan about it, you will easily find more to whinge about.

So why not try this detox from moaning? The trick to succeeding here is that practice makes perfect.

Picture the scene. It is a wet Wednesday morning. You were out the night before at the LCR. You are tired, hungover and you have an early-morning lecture. Just try getting on with it. Yes, it is not ideal, but if you stop moaning about how unfair it is, you are bound to feel better. You will also have a sense of achievement about what you have done if you resist the temptation to vent your annoyance.

As the no-complaint days go on, you will begin to feel a lot more cheerful. You can stop yourself wallowing in misery and even steer your flatmate away from their disheartened observations. Sometimes all you need is a change of perspective to brighten your mood and that of those around you. This challenge can provide that change of perspective.

Of course, it is not possible to give up complaining completely. Sometimes there are legitimate causes to complain: for example, if the hot water in your house is not working properly. This type of complaint is acceptable, as long as you want to bring about a goal at the end.

Talking to your landlord in a straightforward way is far better than moaning at them. State the problem and ask what should happen next. They will probably be pleased that you haven’t laboured the point and will hopefully respond accordingly. Focusing on solutions rather than wallowing in misery really is good advice.

Finally, in your quest for a complaint free 21 days, you will probably notice other people who moan a lot. It might be best to surround yourself with people who tend to be more positive or if you know someone who loves a whinge, encourage them to think more happily.

It takes three weeks to form a habit and this is one that can definitely transform your life for the better.

17/11/2015

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