BP Blog

The Power of Positive Thinking

My roommate, a few friends, and I made a pact at the beginning of the semester to not complain as much. I never realized how hard it would be. Most of the time, we complain and over exaggerate it's usually a joke, however it doesn't always come off this way. We catch each other in the act of complaining, and don't even realize that we were doing so in the first place. I never knew how truly negative I was until I started monitoring myself. You see, when I complain, it is just a way for me to get what I am thinking off my chest, I usually am not very proactive at solving the source of the problem. I just repeat it time and time again to different people thinking I am getting the frustrations off my chest, when in reality I am fueling the fire. This for many people including myself is an almost endless cycle. It actually is pretty depressing, I mean I have so many blessings, complaints should be the least of my worries.

It actually turns out that complaining isn't just annoying to listen to, it actually can have negative effects on mental health. Complaining just a half hour a day can have negative effects on the brain. We tell ourselves that letting it out is actually good for us, but in reality it realizes the stress and anxiety causing hormone to release full speed throughout our bodies...which is not so good actually.

In a way there are two types of complaining, complacent complaining and proactive complaining. If you are proactive when complaining, that turns something negative into a positive, and actually is healthy to do. It gives someone a sense of accomplishment and improves problem solving abilities. 

Here are tips on how to take a negative circumstance and turn it into a positive situation.

1. Complain with a purpose--Realize what you want to get out of your complaint, this will make you more likely to solve the root of the problem, leading to less frustration over what can and can't be done and more satisfaction in yourself for solving the problem. 

2. Start and end on a positive note. When we complain, many times people take it personally and get defensive. By starting out on with a positive statement it makes opens the conversation in a way that doesn't makes someone feel like they are being attacked. Have structure in your statement, and get right down to business, don't exaggerate just state the problem, and finally end with something positive to say. This will help to not make you so angry as well, by easing your own mind.

3. Cool down--allow yourself a time to cool down. The more fired up about it you are the more likely you are to say something you regret, and blow the situation out of proportion. Focus your negative energy into something positive. Take up a hobby like crocheting, or go for a run/exercise. Exercising can be a mood changer, you will notice a mental and a physical change. As Elle Woods said, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't." 

4. Do not... I repeat DO NOT vent on social media--Frankly nobody really cares, and it just makes you look silly. There are sometimes when it can be effective with larger companies being able to respond, however, if it is something personal, it has no place being out in the open. It does not help to improve the situation, and can cause even more negative feelings, especially when you keep rereading the status over and over again. Instead, when you have the desire to post a status, make it positive and upbeat, it will be there to remind you it is not so bad.

5. Lastly, LET IT GO--not complaint is worth the cost of your sanity or happiness. Accept there are things you just cannot change, and move on. It will do a whole lot for yourself and your well-being. If it is causing you pain and stress, it is just not worth hanging on to. Choose something that makes you feel empowered instead of victimized. Remember, holding onto something that is a mute point is only harming you and nobody else! So take charge and set out everyday with a positive note

We all have our bad days, but it always helps to sit back at the end of the day and find three positive things that have happened! Put life into perspective--it is too short to sit there and be miserable, so go out and change it! 

~Mary Kate