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10 Ways to Complain Less and Be Happier

Girl in Hat

“Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.” ~Proverb

We all complain. Even if you argue that you are the happiest person in the world, you still complain sometimes.

Sometimes we complain without even realizing it, but rarely is it ever helpful. Sure, a common complaint can bond two people who may have nothing in common, but too much complaining would just break down the relationship.

For example, I once had a friend who constantly griped about her health, her family, her relationships, school, and the list goes on. Every time I hung out with her I felt drained afterward.

No matter what I said or did, it never seemed to cheer her up. There is no arguing that she was going through a tough time, but her negative attitude certainly made matters worse. Eventually we grew apart because it was more than I could handle at the time.

So what happens if you are the one stuck in the negative attitude? We’ve all been there. I know I sure have. There are days when everything seems to go wrong and complaining is the easiest thing to do.

It’s easier to complain instead of fixing a problem, like quitting a job or having a talk with someone. But I find that when you put your mind toward a more positive outlook and force yourself to end complaining, it is possible!

Here are some tips to stop complaining and ditch the negative thoughts to focus on finding solutions:

1. Change the way you think.

This is definitely easier said than done. Our brains tend to gravitate toward the negative. Much like the quote above, we are bothered first by the thorns in the rose bush instead of being marveled by the sight of the beautiful roses.

This requires a new practice of being mindful. When you find yourself thinking or saying a negative comment about something or someone, stop and force yourself to say something positive instead. Enlist the help of a cheerful friend to stop you when you complain and help you to see the positive in the situation.

2. Allow yourself to vent every once in a while.

Constantly ignoring your negative thoughts could add up. If you are really going through a rough time, don’t be afraid to share your feelings with a close friend or family member or see a therapist. Don’t feel ashamed if you need to talk through negative feelings.

3. Practice yoga.

Yoga is a great way to exercise, relax, and learn to be mindful. Yoga focuses on breathing, movement, and meditation and helps you to control your mind and body. Our minds often race in a million directions. Yoga can help you calm your racing thoughts and be more positive with your intentions.

4. Train yourself to be less judgmental.

We often complain about others because we think they are not up to our standards. Once you stop judging people without knowing their stories, you will most likely complain less about the things people do.

For example, constantly complaining about the service in a restaurant is not helpful. You don’t know what kind of a day your waiter or waitress has had or what problems are going on behind the scenes. If you put yourself in their shoes for a minute, you may be more kind and relax about the situation.

5. Make a list of things you’re grateful for.

Stopping for a minute and thinking of all the great things and amazing people in your life will probably put any silly complaints you had to rest.

6. Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Next time you’re with your friends, family, or co-workers and engaged in a complaint fest, speak up or quiet down. Depending on the crowd, either speak up to stop the complaining and change the subject to something sunnier or simply be quiet and don’t complain yourself.

7. Accept responsibility.

If something is bothering you, either fix it or accept that nothing can be done right now, so why complain? Complaining is a passive activity. Change that complaining into action to solve the problem or simple accept it and give your mind something else to focus on.

8. Find what makes you happy.

Sometimes this list can be easy, full of hobbies you enjoy. Sometimes it requires deeper introspection. Are you constantly complaining about your job? Maybe it is time to make the hard decision to move on to another job or career. Uncover what your biggest complaints are about and see if you can change the situation to make you happy.

9. Take care of yourself.

Stress and a busy lifestyle can often take over our lives and break down anyone’s positive spirit. Take time out from your life for just you. Make sure you get to see that movie you were dying to watch, take a hot bath, head to your exercise class, get a manicure, play sports, or do whatever relaxes and energizes you. It could just put you in a new frame of mind.

10. Simply ask yourself when you open your mouth: would you rather complain or be happy?

Choose happiness, focusing on the positive, and being kind always! It is your choice and no one else’s.

What is your foolproof way to stop complaining?

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Profile photo of Lauren Stewart

About Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelance writer from Michigan. In her personal blog, Lauren’s Thoughts, she writes about love, relationships, friendships, beauty, health & more! She also writes for a women’s online magazine, She loves technology, animals, maintaining a healthy lifestyle & watching movies.

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  • Hope

    Awesum post! Thanks for reminding us all that the simplest joy of life is being the happiness itself. :)

  • noch

    yah, i think taking responsibility for ourselves is key!

  • Cj13angel

    Exactly what u needed to hear.

  • Acousticmusic2000

    I have not got to this point in my life but you have said everything my wife say to me! hoping I start to change!?
    Thank You, HB

  • Viriya Hope

    Thanks for the timely reminder. I’ve recently been complaining too much and I find this a very inspiring article. Thanks again.

  • Brad Madiuk

    Fantastic tips for that sometimes needed reminder – life isn’t that bad. There’s no need to complain about every little thing. :)

  • ‘J.A.’

    Almost no one approved of me, accepted me, so I don’t accept any idea, whatsoever that I can fail to exist as, what pleases & tells me, whatever it wants to, even what it is, if it’s not my false mother, (Denmark), it’s her husband, to myself another symbol & a repetition of the fact that the more, he believes in his freedom, hers, too, the more he controls anything, he feels, he can’t control without being charged with it, so I can find out & so on, greetings, ‘J.A.,’ note: Money still exists as no true  happiness.

  • Chris

    “If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind” – Buddha

  • Inthereflexes

    Tiny Buddha has changed my life….Keep it up!!!

  • DW

    Timely, as always TB.

    Thank you.

  • Maria

    I think the harder tip is #8: Find what makes you happy.

  • Lauren Stewart

    I totally agree. When we blame everyone else for everything else, we fail to see ourselves clearly.


  • Lauren Stewart

    Thank you for reading! Take the time to thank your wife today. :)


  • Lauren Stewart

    So glad you enjoyed the article! Take care.


  • Lauren Stewart

    We all have bad days and we need those to enjoy the good… but I agree, we all need reminders. :) 


  • Lauren Stewart

    I agree, it could be a lifelong journey. Never stop trying!


  • Erniegirl

    But blaming everyone else seems to give some people so much enjoyment ;-)

  • Rebecca

    I recently wrote a post about complaining, in which I asked ‘what’s the point?’ It seems so easy to moan but so difficult to take action, but I think it’s time I started doing just that. Too much complaining and not enough action gets us nowhere.

    I love tip #6. I wrote that complaining is contagious. It’s so important to surround ourselves with positive people, or just refuse to join in with the complaining that we might hear.

  • Jazz

    What a coincidence to find tiny Buddha page , I have been reading most of the entries here for the last five days ….it is giving me now a different perspective of my current life situation !

    I foundd myself sharing the link toy friends…..

  • Fabi

    why always Yoga!! There is no evidence that yoga ist like the only sport that has these benefits, but is  often advertised as the only way! There is no argument about that you have to breath deep in American Football too. There is no argument that Karate opens up you mind and body. There is no argument that Swimming reduces stress and even, that you can acceve a sort of meditational state.

  • Erin Hall

    I used your blog in my blog, I linked it to you. I hope that is okay.

  • Truck-I-love

    So true I try hard to stay positive but once in a while find my self being caught up in the negative thoughts.

  • Cwbome

    must see!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i lve it.

  • The Traction Dr.

    Complaining is one of the ways angry people waste time.  “To stop complaining, sit and hurt in silence.  If doesn’t suit you, ask for what you want.  If you’re still wishing for more, get to work.  If you want to abolish your need for complaining altogether then act persistently until there’s nothing left to complain about.” – Jess Mickelson “The Traction Dr.

  • Lauren

    …and the less we complain, the better it is..??  YES!:):):)  Peace:)

  • Lauren

    By “it”, I mean life;)

  • Sammy

    I have a big sticker on my pc saying “stop complaining” to remind me

  • LadyTamborine

    Great post.  Forwarded it to my negative friends (with a link to course).

  • putlocker movies

    cool stuff, very informative! 

  • Lauren Stewart

    Great idea!


  • Lauren Stewart

    Great quote!


  • Lauren Stewart

    It is definitely normal. I do all the time. The key is to always go back to the positive.


  • Lauren Stewart

    I think you just have to find what works for you! Yoga is always advertised as relaxing, but if you love football or soccer or whatever, it will help you stay positive, happy and healthy.


  • Susie Skierski Nelson

    Great article!

  • Steve Rosenfeld

    There is an expressional prayer that says:
    God, grant me the ability to accept the thing I cannot change, the power to change the things that I can change and the wisdon to know the difference.   these are the words and thoughts that go through my mind when the going get tough.  I was happily married for 21 years and a very unhappy person made up stories to my now ex wife which she beleived and we got divorced.  Well, she still miserable and I’m verry happy…so there.  POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE goes a long way in the journey of LIFE!!!!  Peace be with you all!!! :)
    Steve, Voorhees, NJ

  • gwynneve

    i belong to the intenders. everything i intend is supposed to be for the highest good of myself and others.  i made a new friend a few months ago that just doesn’t speak the truth. and i had to let go. and i find that trying to tell others anything is really just a waste of time.  no matter how i approach it-just making a calm, unattached observation-blame, excuses and hostility follow. so i don’t do this anymore. i am moving as a result of this. i have lived here 7 1/2 years and have changed so much but alot of my friends do not see it and i really do not want to be sucked down to the past. so notw i am on to people who will only see who i am which is the point of this story. i am the suggestion you have made. i have changed into them and can’t wait to meet people who are the same suggestions you have made. there are alot of us out there and these suggestions are so do-able. (and i am not perfect and will keep these suggestions handy to remind me of who i really am)

  • Erik Volkers

    Two of my favorite ways:
    1 Complaining means you feel victimized. I simply refuse making myself into a victim. Well, at least I try to do so…..
    2 Find someone who has more reason to complain and help them or support them. There are enough of them..

  • Harriet Cabelly

    Great piece, and so important.  We need more of this reminder.  It seems like our natural tendencies go more towards the negative/complaining and that we have to work to remind ourselves to do the opposite. 
    Love your line that complaining is a passive activity.  I find I have less and less patience for friends who are always complaining about their problems and situations.    It’s either problem solve and take the steps to start to change the situation or stop the complaining.  Some people seem to just want to remain in their mode of complaint.  As Dr. Phil says, they’re getting something out of it.  But after a while, I don’t want to be the recipient of it.  I guess that’s why I’m a life coach – when you’re ready to take action, I’m here for you every step of the way, cheering on each little step towards growth and change.    

  • Amber

    I feel like I’m very negative because I was so tired of being let down when a positive out look failed me. for weeks now I’ve been nothing but negative, and it’s starting to affect my relationships, as well as my overall happiness. Help.

  • Effigy18038

    That negative vibe you are giving out is felt by all you come in contact with. Make a small effort everyday to stop yourself when you are being negative. I am in a relationship with someone who is extremely negative and it stems from her upbringing all the way to now. It is mentally draining to deal with her and always try to be the one to point out that all is not hopeless in her life. Needless to say this has turned into more about me than you so sorry about that but my point is that it draws people away from you just like it is doing to us.

  • Vaibhav

    superb writeup. so much to learn. thanks for sharing!

  • Sabrina

    Agree with all of these – especially #5 – Gratitude is KEY! 

    Start small, and your energy will shift :).Thanks for sharing!

    Granted choosing Gratitude isn’t always easy…

  • Mulkurnia

    I am learning to stop complaining through mindfulness.  When I catch myself complaining in my thoughts, I will try to offset this negativity by self-talking the opposite, positive thoughts (point no 1 above).  I am also learning to take responsiblity of my life and to release the need to blame or complain my current circumstances.  It is not an easy task but I think it is worth the effort.  Thanks for the article.

  • Gringa

    You probably grew aside your friend when she needed you the most.

    I have been there and still am, on the negative side. People like you just contribute more and more to how sad we feel and for us not understanding what is going on.

    You can be called of all but friend. A friend will stick with you no matter what. And won’t rest until he’s pulled you out of the hole.

    So you’re in a hole too… I bet that whining friend of yours wouldn’t have leave you behind. Ever.

    Life’s really made of choices…

  • Khan

    Sum time I feel that there is no more  Happyness in this lonly world,
     I am just waking and waking without reason.and life is very pain full….

  • draniqa

    rather complain we should be happy with whatever comes in our way. i so agree with this post.

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  • Madd Matts

    Yoga is a great way to find your center, and keep your body in good health for the aging years!

  • Donne Lodi

    Great advices…thanks for sharing!

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  • victimnose

    I don’t agree! It can’t be always ourselves to blame either! I know that from experience that I’m not ALWAYS the blame! During a personal conversation, I’ve had a landlord yell at me once, “How can everyone be trying to screw you up? If it’s everyone, it must be YOU, something YOU are doing wrong!” This was obviously one naive old lady, not realizing the fact that it CAN be everyone, considering CONSPIRACIES do exist, and they can consist of MANY people!!!! Conspiracies may form to keep a person constantly getting fired from their jobs for UNKNOWN reasons over and over again? Why should this ‘victim’ be ignorant enough to believe it might be something THEY are doing to get themselves fired when they know they’ve done nothing wrong?



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    I am trying to approve facility of conference calling for one year, for that I have visited
    Idea points in Haridwar. But the customer care of the idea point also dull, lazy and

    irresponsible for their duties.

    Many time I have call to 198 but no complaint made by them regarding call conference

    Now, I have a mobile with 3G enabled. I requested to customer care for 3G plan 250,

    on date 13.08.2012 but without calling or sms, they shown me not interested.

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    my request and my 3G activated on 22.08.2012 at near about 4:00 pm and I enjoyed

    3G service.

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    from my mobile, I called to 198 and 12345 for that problem but executives told me due to
    technical fault it was happening, wait for evening.

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    I called on 198 and 12345 regarding 3G service, and that time they told me you have never
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  • Sarah

    Happiness is only an illusion

  • Vince Bandille

    Wonderful… inspiring… and all 100% true! Thank you!

  • Bree

    Thanks for this, my relationship is going down the drainnnnn because i can’t accept a more positive, happier life. I needed this perspective on things. This article has helped me understand howw to start being a postive, happy, back to normal person! xoxo

  • nobodysfool

    The right choice here is to not allow oneself to get pulled into the hole…what good can that one do for anyone then? The one in the hole becomes two…

  • Kitra

    Sabrina, I totally agree with you. Great book…Attitudes of Gratitude : How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life by M. J. Ryan and while looking for this author I stumbled upon The Attitude of Gratitude page on Facebook! =) Thank you for your post because I see how this is manifesting already. <3

  • Sabrina

    Kitra, so lovely to hear from you! I’m always looking for inspiration to bolster my path, and I will check out M.J. Ryan’s book!

    Have you heard of The Happiness Trap? It’s next on my list!

  • Elise

    Great post Lauren- i think that sometimes its very easy for people to have a thought and allow it to consume their day and then forget to be grateful for all the other wonderful things that make life so special. It also comes down to people searching & complaining alot about things out of their control and forgetting that real happiness is already who we are and what we are. I have a happiness website all about sharing light and love and owning your contribution to the world, I’d love for you to have a look
    Thank you Tiny Buddha!

  • Elle.Cee

    Gringa, sometimes you have to choose to “de-asshole yourself”. Part of maintaining a more positive outlook means surrounding yourself with positive people. This is what Lauren did re: her downer friend. It’s unfortunate that it had to come to that, but that’s just how it goes sometimes! I’m sure she didn’t end the relationship the moment that they hit a rough patch.

    PS: No need to be rude and call the author of this great article an a-hole.

  • Elle.Cee

    Gringa, sometimes you have to choose to “de-asshole yourself”. Part of maintaining a more positive outlook is surrounding yourself with positive people. This is what Lauren did re: her downer friend – it’s unfortunate that it had to come to that, but that’s just how it goes sometimes! I’m sure she didn’t end the relationship the moment that they hit a rough patch.

    PS: No need to be rude and call the author of this great article an a-hole.

  • Franzi Hajdasz

    From experience, I believe those that are consumed by negativity often times have little room for people that do not dwell there with them. Misery seeks companionship, but the up-hill battle of enlightenment often is a solo journey. The hard truth is, sometimes one’s centering and balance means we must distance ourselves from those that cast shadows in our own minds. There are those with a mindset that repels companionship, even though that’s what they feel most. They fuel this need to be a victim and accept no responsibility and no authority in their own situation. I find that those that don’t accept an active role in their own lives are not themselves to be friends with in the first place. Regardless of the circumstances, if you lose yourself to be a victim and waste away in some prison of your own mind, you can’t expect others to live there with you. It’s your choice. Period.

  • jeff

    Complainers damage their spouses the most. I felt drained to the point of not even trying. Then I happened upon “A Wife is a Terrible Thing to Waste” by Mr X and my life changed. Highly recommended.

  • jeff

    Sorry, I forgot to include the link to “A Wife is a Terrible Thing to Waste”.

  • Annoyedperson

    when the people around you don’t allow you to vent, it results in severe negativity and an overall attitude of anger

  • ave

    Being goth helps cause then you find joy in depressing things.

  • kavin paker

    I’m still angry and wanna kill the world but that thought justs makes me angry
    Alps hotel

  • Guest

    Great article! All the tips are very helpful! I especially liked tips #2, 7, 8 and 9. Complaining isn’t bad but complaining too much is bad. When I was younger, I would complain about a situation but do nothing about it. That led me to keep complaining and irritating those around me. Nowadays, I complain once in awhile but I make a conscious effort to do something about it. I remove myself from the situation or I find an alternative way to deal with it.

  • Miss Piggy

    great article! Thank you

  • Ellen

    These are all great points mentioned above. If more people made these an everyday practice, I think that we would be a happier society. I find it interesting the various people that I know who always complain and manage to blame all their problems on the politicians. What every happened to taking personal responsibility?

    By how I was raised to not be a complainer, even when I had something to complain about because no one would listen to me, which I find it kind of ironic. I say this because the people who told me to not complain or judge others are the ones who complain and judge others, now.

    I hope to find ways to apply these above ways the next time someone starts ranting to me about his/her life. I am not looking to scrutinize others, I just think that applying these may be a good way to divert negative behaviors that can be so draining. If they don’t work with someone, I won’t be spending that much time with him/her. It is draining to spend a lot of time with anyone who does nothing but complain.

  • JoHanna Massey

    Great article.

  • Guest

    I guess this pretty much means that if you need to get away from people that cast “shadows” in your mind, you need to figure out what’s wrong with you. It almost sounds like you don’t want to be around people that can potentially help you realize you have to deal with stuff.

    Just saying, a person can not be brought down by someone else’s thinking… just by their own.

  • Lazmo

    As for point no.10 , it might be a bit too late to think after opening one’s mouth- better to think about it before talking. Great point anyhow.