How To Stop Complaining & Just Be Happy In Life

Complaining drags you down more than you realize.

How To Stop Complaining & Just Be Happy In Life by Vinicius Wiesehofer on Unsplash

I’m into "rubber bracelet causes: as much as the next girl, and I saw one on a friend that I think is really cool. It said: “Complaint-Free Living.”

Basically, the idea is to change your life for the better by learning how to stop complaining.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Stop Complaining And Appreciate The Life You Have


I suspect it comes from Bill Bowen’s book, A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted.

He suggests that people shift a complaint-free world, or “CFW” band from one wrist to the other every time they complain until, as the movement suggests, "they have managed to go twenty-one consecutive days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping.”

Isn’t that great? It’s quite a challenge, one I confess that I haven’t tried yet.

But even without a purple wristband, a complaint-free mentality can set you on the road to contentment.

I don’t exactly hate complaining. Certainly, there are things to like about it. After all, a full-blown vent can be quite liberating!


That’s the problem.

Complaining, when overused, keeps you from taking responsibility. When you look to blame your actions or your choices on others, there’s no quicker way to suck the positivity out of a room. You can almost hear the silence in the wake of the vacuum.

We all know people who suffer from "bummer-itis" — they are living, breathing rain clouds who can find fault in everyone except themselves. These people love to point out problems and mistakes. Sometimes, they will even complain about other people’s complaining.

I reached my limit with one such acquaintance whose kvetching was incredibly draining. I bit my tongue and swore off gratuitous complaints forever!


It’s no easy task. I recall a class with an Indian yoga master, T.K.V. Desikachar. We discussed, of all things, the struggle to keep calm in a long line at the grocery store.

His message was to bring a yoga way into our daily lives. For him, a positive attitude is a way of being. It is his choice every day.

Over the course of a few years, after an intentional decision to start looking for the positive, I can vouch for its benefit to my life. It adds pleasure, increases productivity, and encourages others to do the same.

I must own up to lapses from time to time, but awareness is key, and it’s definitely made a difference. Even in difficult times, I can find the positive anywhere… if I look for it.


“Complaint-free” living means you stop negative approaches to sharing information, like complaining, criticizing and gossiping. Instead of looking for what’s wrong, it’s about looking for what could be right.

RELATED: People Who Always Complain Slowly Kill Themselves, Says Science

After all, whether you look for the negative or the positive, that’s exactly what you’re likely to find.

Where are you on the journey to complaint-free living? Are you a consummate complainer? Are you an optimist? Are you, like many of us, somewhere in between? The goal here is to move closer toward gratitude and respect, where you can accept others without judgment.


So, what do you think? Purple wristband or not, are you ready to seek out positive perspectives? Will you practice withholding judgment, beginning with yourself? My life has been increasingly happier since I adopted this approach. I recommend you give it a try.

Here are 4 steps you can take to stop complaining and focus on happiness instead:

1. Pay attention to when you hear yourself complaining, criticizing, or gossiping.

When you become aware of it, pay attention to your next instinct. Do you jump to criticize yourself?

It’s a positive step to take responsibility for your actions, but not by self-contempt. That just feeds the cycle.


2. Several times a day, try to stop yourself before you verbalize a complaint.

If you’re not sure if it’s a complaint, ask yourself, “What purpose will it serve to say this out loud?” More than likely, if it’s a complaint, it won’t improve anything.

3. When you do notice that you’re becoming negative, stop.

Change your approach. Is there another way to see the situation?

4. Treat yourself as well as you are trying to treat others.

When you notice you have slipped into the negative (and let’s be serious, you’re human and you will), try something crazy, like laughing out loud. After all, learning to laugh with yourself is about as positive as life can get.

RELATED: Stop Complaining To Your Husband About These 10 Things. Seriously.


Elaine Taylor-Klaus and Diane Dempster, founders of, teach/write about practical strategies to parents of “complex” kids with ADHD and related challenges. To help your kids find the motivation to get anything done, download their free parent’s guide, The Parent’s Guide to Motivating Your Complex Child.