I subscribe to a weekly newsletter from the best selling author Micheal Neill. Every once in a while, he nails me.
Today was that day. I am tempted to complain and judge people and situations ad nauseum, which only makes me and everyone around me feel worse. At Michael’s suggestion I decided to declare today a “fast from complaining day.”
(Now, I can think bad things all day long, I just won’t verbalize them.)
Michael makes some good arguments for extending such a “fast.”
Complaining is addictive
“When I was a kid, I noticed something odd about my relationship with chocolate. I could quite happily go without a Mars bar for months at a time, but if I had one on a Tuesday, I craved another one on Wednesday. While the links between chocolate and serotonin levels in the brain are well-established, I suspect that if a study were ever done scientists would find a similar link between complaining and some brain chemical that relieves stress,” he explains.
“The problem, as with any addictive substance, is that the drug in question (in this case “complaining”) winds up creating more of the very stress it was originally designed to relieve, thus plunging its user into an ongoing cycle of stress and stress-relief that can only be interrupted by eliminating the drug from your system completely,” concludes Neill.
He proposes an experiment to help you detoxify from this kind of behavior:
Create a “no-complaint fast” for yourself. The first time I did this, I decided that I would go one week without complaining. If I complained at all during that week, I would immediately begin again with day one. It took me the better part of a year to complete the experiment, but it was incredibly worthwhile.
Oh no. I am getting a headache and my neighbors are having a Toga Party. I’ll have to do the “complaint fast” tomorrow.