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The 21-Day-Complaint-Free Challenge – Are You Ready For It?

Written by: Masha Shapiro, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Masha Shapiro

I recently read a book that already feels like it is starting to change my life A Complaint-Free World, by Will Bowen. The premise of this book focuses on completing a 21-day challenge in which complaining is prohibited. Many, if not most people who try this experiment take longer than anticipated just to go one full day without complaining—with some going as long as 8 months.

Image photo of Masha in white long sleeves

Surprised? I was, too until I decided to try this challenge out for myself. One of the first things I noticed is that a lot of my former complaining felt automatic—that is, I did not even notice I was doing it. I ordered wristbands here and once received, started changing which wrist I wear the bracelet on after each complaint made. This helps the brain become cognizant of when complaining is taking place, thus making it easier for you to recognize when you are about to engage in this act. While it has been helpful to notice when I am about to complain, one of the questions I kept asking myself is: “what exactly constitutes complaining”?

Bowen discussed that complaining refers to saying something negative and/or gossiping. The two caveats here are that something negative should only be said if one is seeking to find a solution to a problem as opposed to complaining about the problem just to complain and that gossiping should only be engaged if and when you would say whatever you are saying to the person’s face.

This makes sense. As a therapist I thought--but isn’t it healthy to vent and isn’t venting akin to crying as a way to release pent up energy stored in the nervous system? Albeit, this book has shown me that you can vent as long as you are looking for a solution and not focusing on the problem.

Benefits of engaging in this challenge includes feeling happier and more optimistic overall, feelings better about yourself as a whole, and even attracting more positive experiences into your world (for those that subscribe to law of attraction beliefs).

I am still in the middle of my challenge and while I am still not entirely complaint-free, I am well on my way. As I continue to try and not complain, I cannot help but notice how many of us do, and how many conversations are guided by complaints alone. Despite this, engaging in this challenge has made me feel lighter, calmer, and more focused on what matters. Moreover, it feels so much easier to experience gratitude. When your brain stops focusing on negative aspects of experiences, it has more room to focus on growth and all the things around you that could have been missed in the process.

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Masha Shapiro Brainz Magazine

Masha Shapiro, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Masha Shapiro is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York and is the owner of We Rise Mental Health Counseling Services, PLLC. Masha is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Masha has been recognized as an expert in her field and has been on numerous podcasts discussing mental health. Masha is a triple-certified trauma therapist, holding certifications as an Individual Certified Trauma Specialist, a Complex Certified Trauma Professional, and an EMDRIA-certified EMDR therapist. Masha also specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders, self-esteem issues, perinatal mood disorders, couples counseling, and narcissistic abuse recovery services. Masha works with the body through a somatic lens.



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