You Have a Choice to Rejoice No Matter What Your Circumstances!

Let Go of Complaining

Part 17 - Let Go of Complaining

As the Pandemic dragged on, I have drifted into the bad habit of complaining. I complained about everything−the weather, the food, the service at restaurants, internet speed, situations at work, the challenges of life in general and the list goes on. All my conversations were sprinkled with complaints.

It seems I haven’t been the only one complaining. A friend of mine in the Healthcare Industry mentioned that complaints reached an all time high amongst patients and family members. What about you? Have you leaned towards complaining?

Complaining is a slippery slope, the more we do it, the more negative our attitudes. Additionally, complaining has a harmful effect on our mental, physical, and spiritual health. Effects could be devastating especially when we are subjected to more than 30 minutes of complaining per day, either complaining yourself or listen to someone else’s venting.

When we complain, the body releases a stress hormone, cortisol, which helps to manage stressful situations. However, frequent complaining results in extra cortisol in our bloodstream. Long term exposure to extra doses of cortisol could shrink the region in our brain that is involved in the formation of new memories, learning and emotions. This raises the risk of dementia. Additionally, our risk increases for high cholesterol, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and obesity. (1)

I can attest to some of the harmful effects. The more I complained, the heavier the burden. I stopped smiling and started stooping. My short-term memory was, well I can’t even remember what I wanted to say… My relationships at work were stressed out. And my family had a hard time coping with my cynicism and sarcasm. Life looked bleak and hopeless. My sleep was troubled my anxiousness ramped up. My energy levels dropped to zero. My happiness- and joy meter was continuously on empty and my pain meter in the red. Never had I realized how much complaining affected my health and happiness.

How then do we stop this downward spiral? How do we let go of complaining?

Start by acknowledging your feelings of dissatisfaction and resentment. Keep a notepad next to you and write down that feeling. I like the physical act of writing. But if typing works better for you, keep a word document open on your computer. Implement whatever plan will work for you in your situation.

Get the feelings out of your mind onto paper. The moment you have written it down, you’ve rid your sub-conscious mind of ruminating. It clears your mind and sharpens your focus in the present.

Another option that worked well for me, is to get out for a walk where you could pour out your heart to God. The exercise is good for your body, brain, mental and spiritual health.

Verbalizing your thoughts in prayer/communication with the Lord expose all your heart and pain. And your information is safe with Jesus. He is a God who listens. There are no chains of fear of what you shared with Jesus to keep you in bondage. It relieves the immediate stress, clears your brain, circulate the blood faster through your body to clear out the toxins and you feel refreshed.

Have you noticed that I did not suggest talking/venting to a friend? Talking to a friend, doesn’t alleviate the situation. It rather weakens your strength, because feelings of guilt will start haunting you. Maybe you’ve blurted out confidential or harmful information in your process of venting. Concerns follow that the information may be disclosed. Fears increase, anxiety and self-loathing and depression follows. As mentioned earlier complaining is harmful to both you and your friend’s health.

Though getting in touch with your close friend asking for prayers in during challenging circumstances is highly recommended. We need friends and community to support us, but not to be complained to.

Always remember that we have a choice when it comes to feelings. We can ruminate about our dissatisfaction or we could choose a different perspective. Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on what is good in the situation. Habakkuk, an Old Testament Prophet, offers his remedy. In the midst of his disastrous circumstances his choice is to rejoice. No matter what, he will be joyful in the God of his salvation and trust God for his strength. (2)

Another therapy that helps me tremendously is to practice gratitude. The mere function of thinking what you are grateful for lessens the cortisol release in your body and brings about a positive change in your mind and body.

In the morning, I carve out time to enjoy the gift of the new day and a fresh start. I become quiet and calibrate my life according to the will of God. I set my intention to control my feelings and responses.

At the end of my day, I recap at least one thing that I’m grateful for. I enjoy pondering over the day’s happenings finding the nuggets of joy of God showing up in my life. Friend, let go of complaining, it’s bad for your health and the people you complain to. Rather bring your cares to the Lord, because he loves you. (3)

I would love to hear how you’re faring in this “new normal” of our current circumstances. May God bless you and keep you.

Leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Until next time!

Anita Beukman

Your Hope Coach

  (1)1996 Stanford Study
  (2) Habakkuk 3: 17 – 19 (BibleGateway provides easy lookup of Bible Text)
  (3) 1 Peter 5:7

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