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6 months ago · · 0 comments

How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy – Today

The 5 Key steps in How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy Today

How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy

Step 1 How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy – UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF CHANGE

The first step to taking steps to learn how to stop complaining and be happy, is to trully believe that it is important to do so. So this is where we begin – comvincing you that your complaining is doing more harm than good.

Negative behaviours and language actually change your brain structure – for the worse and the converse is true for positive habits. In depression for instance, where negative thinking becomes heightened, we start to see chemical changes in the brain that continue to alter the chemistry of the brain.

“In depression, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the brain. It’s simply that the particular tuning of neural circuits creates the tendency toward a pattern of depression. It has to do with the way the brain deals with stress, planning, habits, decision making and a dozen other things — the dynamic interaction of all those circuits. And once a pattern starts to form, it causes dozens of tiny changes throughout the brain that create a downward spiral.”


Alex Korb, Ph.D. ( author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time)

Negative thinking, such as complaining, leads to more negative behaviours and a tendency to see the world around you more negatively. So, the more your complain, the more you will continue to complain – and the cycle goes on and on.

In addition to the negative impact complaining will have on your brain chemistry, it can have a very detrimental impact on your relationships. Whilst it is important to speak up, perpetually complaining about things you cannot, or do not want to, change (e.g. world events, friends/partner’s behaviours, the weather) can lead to a lot of frustration. Friends will offer you support and understanding, but may also grow tired of your inaction if you continually complain about the same things without taking steps to improve your life.

Step 2 How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy – MAKE A COMMITMENT TO CHANGE

How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy

Now that you understand how important it is to learn how to stop complaining, you can decide “TODAY is the DAY I will stop”. It’s important to undertand there is a difference between venting your frustrations and asking for support AND perpetually complaining. The former is usually short-lived, whilst the latter is long lasting and very repetitive. To stop complaining, does not mean you become an annoying person who can show no empathy to others and pretends the world is perfect. To stop complaining, means changing your lens and focus.

In order to change ANY behaviour, you need to make a commitment to stick to this change. Complaining is just a bad habit. Like eating too much junk food every afternoon, or avoiding exercise to watch television. You have rewired your brain to tap into negativity and to voice this negativity on a regular basis to others in the hope of getting support, or fostering more complaints.

So decide right now you are going to become more conscious of your negative speak. Think before you begin a conversation and ask yourself, am I just complaining here? Common complaints you may recognise in yourself are things like:

  • “I’m so tired, I had the worse sleep last night”
  • “I’m sick of this cold weather”
  • “Did you see the news last night, wasn’t that story terrible”
  • “I hate my job”
  • “I can’t afford that, I don’t earn enough money”
  • “I can never wear anything I like”
  • “I’m sick of cleaning up after you”

All these things may be legitimate, but if you voice them too regularly, you will feel that the world is a very negative place and your lens will perpetually be negative too. This means you will lose sight of the positive things in your life. You will miss the good things that are happening right in front of you.

Step 3 How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy – PAYING ATTENTION

How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy

One of the things I often ask my counselling clients to do, is to start paying attention to how they speak to themselves. A LOT of complaining occurs internally. For instance, you are rushing to get to work and someone is taking too long to turn in front of you. This causes you to miss the green light and you are delayed even more. What do you say to yourself in this moment? If you are like more people, you internal thoughts will go something like this:

“you stupid idiot… where did you learn how to drive… I’m going to be so late now…. you can’t be scared on this road – you have to go for it, I’d be almost there now…”

These are the moments when complaining becomes truly ingrained. It is in these moments that you need to catch yourself. When you hear these negative thoughts in your mind, think about ways you could reframe the situation and think more positively and reduce the complaining.

In the example above where you have been delayed due to another driver, ask yourself if this REALLY is the reason you are late. The truth most likely is that you didn’t give yourself enough time this morning to get ready or you were delayed for some other reason. As a result you left the house late. The person in the car in front of you (whilst annoying), is not doing anything wrong really. He is just trying to be careful in order to avoid an accident. So you just need to calm down. Accept you are late and make sure you leave on time tomorrow to compensate for any possible delays like this on the road again.

By reframing (with all true statements), you can difuse the complaints and start to reduce your internal tension.

Step 4 How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy – LOOKING FOR THE POSITIVES

How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy

Comlaining leaves you with a negative filter. You tend to start looking for things to complain about and too easily join in with other people complains aswell. This makes it more challenging to focus on the positives around you. As a said before, you don’t want to be fake and pretend everything is great if it isn’t. However, you want to open your eyes to the wonderful things, people and opportunities that are happening all around you.

Think about times when you have been upset by something someone said or did. How has this impacted your relationship with your children, friends, family or co-workers? Have you found it difficult to focus and be ‘fun’ in that moment? Most likely – YES. The key here is to put negative experiences aside until you can address them and be in the ‘now’. Be conscious not to allow negative impacts to affect other aspects of your life.

Be on the look-out for positives. Watch your child play and be moved by their kind interactions with others. Catch a glimpse of a couple having a loving embrace. Really savour your morning treat and think about all the delicious flavours your comsuming. Appreciate your partner’s long hours at work as a reflection of trying to support your family. There are so many things to be happy about in this world, if we just pay more attention.

I do think all the time. A simple thing like watching someone running for the bus and seeing the bus driver wait to collect this rushing passenger – makes my day. I think about how happy both parties will feed. The bus driver will feel good about doing something to help another human being. The passenger will be relieved and have a good-news story to tell when she arrives to work that day. It has nothing to do with me, but I can take positives from that and allow it to improve my own mood. It’s simply, but very effective.

Step 5 How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy – BE MINDFUL

Mindfulness is a huge part of stopping to complain. It places you in the moment and draws your attention to the little joys in life. A simple mindfulness practice in the shower each morning can start yourday off on the right path.

Stand in the shower for a moment and focus on the drops of water as they touch your skin. Close your eyes and feel the warmth of the water as drips down. Listen to the water falling onto the tiles. Open your mouth and taste a few drops. Place your hand out to feel the drops as they caress your fingers.

It only takes a few minutes, but it allows you to concentrate on the positives of a simply daily task. It quietens your mind. It does not take any extra time – you have to shower anyway. However, it has a hug impact on your positive mood, stress levels and how much you will complain that day.

There are lots of places you can be mindful that do not take up extra time in your day. You can focus when washing your hands, brushing your teeth, or combing your hair. Just think about all that involved in each process and allow yourself to be fully present in that moment.

So take this 5 step challenge to learn how to stop complaining and be happy today. You will see the positive impact this has on your life immediately.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Author or Refresh Your Life and Perfect Mums: How To Survive The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood

7 months ago · · 0 comments

Parenting Support: Stop The Advice You Never Asked For

Parenting Support Doesn’t Have to Come With A Dollop of ‘Expert Advice’

parenting-support-mum-baby

After many years working as a professional therapist, I’ve come to the realization that people often provide advice and recommendations based on what THEY THINK you need, or believe your SHOULD do, rather than on what you actually want or need. Parents often come to me for parenting supporting to help deal with this issue which often becomes pronounced once you have a baby.

As a parent, it is common to complain about how stressful, exhausted or upset you feel today. However, this often results in those close you wondering how they can help you, even if you have not asked for help! It also occurs out of judgement. For example, someone offers you help with your parenting, based on how well they think their parenting is going. they start to play the martyr. They may think “if only you would act like me, or do as I do. I have to take over or intervene, your life would be so much better.” I hear this a lot when it comes to children sleeping. Often when you have children that go to sleep easily, you assume your sleep methods will work for every child, but this simply is NOT the case.

This has really bothered many parents for years. It is quite stressful when people close to you decide to give you unsolicited advice. It is not always easy to say “NO THANK-YOU”, without offending those who believe they are helping you.

Parenting Support From Unwelcome ‘Experts’ Can Lead to Resentment

parenting-support-talking couple

Whilst it is easy to get angry and resentful when receiving unsolicited advice, I have come to realise that we need to take some of the blame. Personally, I know I have complained about things I didn’t want advice on, just needing to vent, especially when I’ve been tired. I have also agreed or gone overboard putting myself down or talked about my own misfortunes in an attempt to make someone else feel better.

Have you ever heard yourself saying things like “I get it, this also happened to me and it was even worse”. It is very common to say things like this to try to convey deeper empathy, but in the process of doing this, you can also portray a very negative perspective of yourself – as if your life is full of negativity and drama. You then by default tend to imply that these stories only portray a very small part of my life.

I have left conversations feeling frustrated and annoyed with myself for doing this, because I know this opens me up to receiving advice I am NOT searching for! But…sometimes we need to learn the hard way…

People LOVE To Be Problem Solvers When Providing Parenting Support

parenting-support-friends talking

People love to be problem-solvers. The problem with this, is that often people are giving advice, when really all you want is someone to just listen. In the busy world we live in, you are often seeing people in spurts. During these spurts you are likely to be having a few issues, but this is NOT a reflection of your life overall. These same people are not likely to see you straight after the millions of wonderful experiences you have had in your life. You are also unlikely to talk about all the great things in your life, for fear you might be seen as boasting.

Your friends are unlikely to hear about the moment you:

  • receive a promotion at work
  • are surprised by your child cuddling you or saying “I love you”
  • receive a bunch of flowers from your partner or a close friend
  • are told your parents are proud of you
  • complete a challenging course
  • break your Personal Best record playing sport
  • prepare a delicious meal for the first time from your new recipe book
  • sort things out with the person you were upset with this morning

Are You Engaging In Bad Conversational Habits That May Be Confused For A Request For Parenting Support?

parenting support -talking women

It is very easy to get into bad habits with close friends. You may naturally fall into the trap of complaining with them or avoiding telling them about your personal wins (especially if they are going through a hard time).

Whilst you don’t want to boast, there is a real downside to doing this. You WILL provide a very skewed and often negative picture of yourself. You will also get frustrated when you receive advice you didn’t ask for. For example, if you are a tired parent who is co-sleeping with your child, you are likely to receive advice over and over again about why you should STOP co-sleeping, when all you really want is someone to just give you a hug, listen or tell you it won’t last forever. You may also just want someone to ask “is there anything you need to help get through this tired time?”

Choose your support network

We all need to vent from time to time, so chose who you vent to wisely. Choose friends who can just listen without passing judgement and without trying to fix things. At the very least make a point of saying you are not looking for solutions, you just need to vent.

Balance your conversations

Make sure you are also telling others of your ‘wins’. This is where your friends get to know the ‘real’ you and can see that whilst things may be difficult in one area, life is pretty great in other areas. Before you meet people to have a chat, think about the person you want to project. By all means get support from others, but just be mindful of letting others know when you really want their help.

If you have deeper issues to discuss, it would be best to save these conversations for a professional therapist who is trained in helping you resolve this issues without judgement.

Parenting Support – Your Personal Reminder

Place a big reminder of your wall at home, or in your phone that says DON’T COMPLAIN TO EVERYONE & SHARE POSITIVE STORIES TOO. Focussing on the times in your life when things are going well, is also a personal reminder that life is balanced. Ask for help when you need it and don’t be afraid to start a conversation by saying “I’m not looking for advice, just an ear today”

Author: Lizzie O’Halloran, Counsellor/Life Coach, Author & Motivational Speaker