Let’s admit it. There are days when everything seems to go wrong and we find ourselves in the middle of a “complaint fest.” Here are seven easy ways to ditch those negative thoughts when you find yourself focusing on the “thorns” instead of the “roses” in life:

  • Pause and take a deep breath. This has a calming effect on the entire nervous system and can help you gain control of your thoughts.
  • Stop and think. When you find yourself thinking or saying a negative comment about something or someone, stop and choose to say something positive instead. Ask a positive friend to stop you when you complain and help you to see the good in the situation.
  • Have a “pity party.” Allow yourself to vent every once in a while. It’s healthy to have the occasional “pity party,” but like all parties, it should have a “start time” and an “end time.” And if you are really going through a rough time, don’t be afraid to share your feelings with someone you trust.
  • Focus on gratitude. Take a moment to remember all the great things and wonderful people in your life. It’s amazing how focusing on gratitude will put your “problems” in perspective.
  • Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Constantly complaining about the slow checkout clerk or service in a restaurant is not very useful. You don’t know what kind of a day the person has had or what problems are going on behind the scenes. When you put yourself in their shoes for just a moment, it becomes easier to choose kindness over criticism in the situation.
  • Speak up or shut up. Next time you’re with others engaged in a complaint fest, depending on the situation, either speak up to end the complaining or stop contributing to the conversation. You’ll be surprised at the effect that you, individually, can have on the situation.
  • Fix it or accept it. If something is bothering you, either fix it if you can, or accept that nothing can be done about it right now and move on.

When we stop complaining, we will see solutions begin to emerge instead, and we’ll find ourselves enjoying the beautiful rose garden of life, instead of getting stuck in the thorns!