Complaining can become a habit and as you know, bad habits are hard to break. One of the biggest keys to overcoming the complaints cycle is to first be aware that you’re doing it. When you habitually do something over and over, it’s not unusual to not even know that you’re doing it. When you are able to recognize your complaints, you’ll be far more equipped to end the cycle. Follow these three tips to help you become aware of your complaints.

Be Mindful

The first step to recognizing your complaining is to be in the moment. You can’t be aware if you’re not fully engaged in the here and now. Habitual complaining happens on autopilot, as do most of our habits. These can be both good and bad. If you want to recognize an action, paying attention to the present will help. Learning to be mindful can be a challenge, but once you start to focus on paying attention and being aware of your actions as they occur, it does become easier. Meditation can be a good way to start paying attention and to focus your thoughts on the present.

Pay Attention to Your Body

Sometimes your body will give you clues as to how you’re feeling and the ways in which those feelings may be manifested. Complaining is a common outlet for frustration, fear, and anxiety. Take note of the ways in which you feel when you start to voice a complaint. Does your stomach feel tied up in knots? Is your face flushed? Maybe your neck and shoulders tighten. Write these things down. Knowing they are present in conjunction with your complaining will help you to increase your awareness and recognition.

Know Your Triggers

Take note of the things that lie beneath your complaining, there are root causes to common complaints. What are yours? Knowing what triggers you is a great way to get a handle on things before you give voice to your complaints. When something that bothers you occurs, you’re not better prepared to examine the issue and to find healthier ways to deal with it. You can’t stop something if you don’t know what’s causing it.

Awareness is half the battle when it comes to ending your complaint habit. Once you know what your triggers are, you can work to become more positive and end the cycle of complaining.

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