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Let’s face it, we all complain. Even if we don’t admit it, I’ve never come across someone that has never complained in their life.

Complaining feels good, right? It’s our chance to vent, release some steam and get in a few of those internal eye rolls. While complaining may feel good in the moment, it’s actually extremely damaging to our self-esteem, our productivity and our internal gratitude meter. We can’t feel grateful, thankful and dare I say #blessed if we’re spending all of our time complaining. And I’m not just talking about complaining out-loud, I’m talking about all of the internal complaining going on through our thoughts. Yes, all those complaints that you’re saying to yourself still count as complaining.

So how do we stop the complaining madness?

  1. You Check Yo Self, meaning that you start to notice each time you complain either verbally or internally to yourself and you make a tally in a notebook, post it or on your computer for each complaint. We all know that the first step to changing anything in our lives is by being aware of it, which makes checkin’ yo self an important first step to kicking your complaining to the curb.
  2. After tallying your complaining for three days, add up your total number of complaints. Are you surprised? I know I sure was when I counted up mine. In a matter of three short days I had accrued 100+ complaints. Everything from complaining about the weather and traffic, to not working out enough. Before participating in this activity, I knew I complained, but I had no idea just how much complaining I was doing.
  3. Now that you’re aware of how much actual complaining you are partaking in, it’s time replace the complaining with actionable gratitude. Actionable gratitude takes the concept of gratitude {the quality of being thankful} and puts movement behind-it. Instead of just thinking about how grateful you are, actionable gratitude means you SHOW how grateful you are. I’ve found that the feeling of gratefulness while extremely powerful, isn’t nearly as impactful as actionable gratitude is.

Actionable gratitude can take shape in many forms, from calling up friends and family that you haven’t had the time to connect with lately, to buying a co-worker coffee for their help on a recent project. Putting action behind your thoughts and words can make all the difference. And while complaining won’t ever fully go away {none of us are perfect} you’ll soon find that you are doing a lot less of it because you’re having so much fun SHOWING those around you just how grateful you are.

So how am I showing actionable gratitude this November? I’m writing letters to each of my friends and family. And no, by letters I don’t mean emails. I’m going old-school and hand-writing with pen & paper, unique letters that detail out the specific reasons, stories and memories of why I’m so grateful for the people in my life. In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives it’s easy to put our relationships on the back burner and relegate their upkeep to the bottom of our to-do’s lists. This is however, is a mistake. Our relationships are at the heart of who we are and they deserve our full attention. I’m committing to keep my relationships at the forefront of not only this holiday season, but as the centerpiece of my every day.

Happy Thanksgiving,

-Brittany

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