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 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 try to see things from a different perspective and challenge yourself to stop complaining, it is possible!

Here are some tips to stop complaining and ditch the negative thoughts so you can 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?

Photo by mrsraggle

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. 🙂

  • 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.

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

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


  • Thank you for reading! Take the time to thank your wife today. 🙂


  • So glad you enjoyed the article! Take care.


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


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


  • Erniegirl

    But blaming everyone else seems to give some people so much enjoyment 😉

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • cool stuff, very informative! 

  • Great idea!


  • Great quote!


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


  • 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.


  • 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..

  • 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!

  • 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…

  • 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….

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

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

  • 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

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    from my mobile, I called to 198 and 12345 for that problem but executives told me due to
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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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    through social networks, and by different ways.


  • Sarah

    Happiness is only an illusion

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Sara

    I’ve been through a lot and have had friends who stood by me. One who I was very close with distanced herself was busy with her life. Always made excuses that was very busy. She used to message me not anymore. I was the one who always initiated conversation,get togethers. I think once I stopped doing those things and not contacting anymore where distance started. We met up and still felt like old times but I’m not the same person I was back then. It’s weird because when asked to hang out she would always say busy but when mention other friend asked me to keep her posted. People change and grow. I think people dropping you because your having hard time is cold hearted. Maybe some people aren’t strong enough like ones who went against Gringa’s comment. If they did something to you and disrespected you that’s when you cut person out not when there feeling down and in rut. So many people these days try finding easy way. If relationship not going as planned need to breakup cause I don’t need this is people’s mentality. Why so many peoe get divorces instead of staying in a relationship. People don’t like the work that needs to be put in.

  • Nic Roberts

    I agree with you, im not in a good place at the moment, and I’ve become a bit of a complainer, im working on it, there are points here that I have already considered, but personally I would never walk away from a crying friend, complaining and negativity are a sign of dissatisfaction, when someone complains to you , especially about themselves, they are asking for help, mindfulness should never be confused with selfishness. I just hope my friends, partner, children and family don’t read this article and walk away from me, because at the moment, that really is the last thing I need, I can pull myself out of this hole with some encouragement.

  • Sarah

    Wow, you are really pulling the victim card here..

  • Sarah T

    I love this article! Thanks Lauren!

    I’d like to make a few points of clarification:

    There is a difference between venting and complaining. Through my experience, complaining focuses on the problem, the person takes no ownership and is closed to any feedback. A lot of the time the complainer is trying to get attention. Complainers make complaining a lifestyle. Venting has to do with releasing emotions having to do with the problem, the person takes ownership of their role in things, and are open to feedback. Venting doesn’t happen ALL THE TIME. Venters at least try to work on the issue but may need help from outside sources.

    Secondly, there is also a distinct difference when it comes to being by someone side when times are tough. It is one thing to stand by a friend who is going through something rough like an illness or a death in the family. This is when you stick by someone. It is an entirely different scenario when a friend repeatedly bitches about their loser boyfriend/girlfriend (whom they picked) or when they complain about being broke yet make nonsensical financial decisions. I find it somewhat difficult not to judge the latter. I try instead to detach with love.

    If you are feeling drained or worse after speaking with someone, this is a problem. It is best to keep boundaries in place so you don’t have to get sucked into the drama.


  • Allison

    It’s not about refraining from venting at all. Venting definitely has its place. I think the author is trying to address chronic complaining. Occasional complaints are helpful but if a person complains again and again about the same thing and many things, it becomes very drainning, both for the complaining person and the people who hear it.

  • Xander

    Complaining isnt a bad thing, it is a characteristic of a certain type of person, of course it can cause splits between people, as people are different and two people who are purely different inherently cannot understand each other, often causing misinterpretation of the gesture, but labeling it as a bad thing; giving it a negative connotation, robs it of its deserved commendation for all of the interpersonal problems it HAS solved in its role as a gesture of asking for help. This isnt a problem of determining if one kind of person who more frequently complains is worse or better than the other (characteristics are all good if used for their strengths), i find the it is a problem of seeking understanding between the two characters, because the end goal is a positive unitization, and we are asking each other in this heated debate, why are you doing this to me? with a underlying message: but we love each other.? In N.A. society today at least, and even with this specification, i could be wrong, as this is only in my experience as a 18 year old boy, the non-complainer is the ideal person in our society, and the complainer is the outsider. The non-complainer has the benefit of the title, but feels the leeching feeling of the doubt, and the complainer feels the weight of the title of scum, and they call themselves that, however, has the benefit of being the underdog, and the pride that comes with that. We need to be a little more mindful. Saying that, being a person who thinks he has something that others should listen to, i will take this moment to point out that at the same time i am also a complete idiot. Posting a proposal as wise words isnt complete without some humility. So… LISTEN TO YOU SMACK MY BOOTY BY BUTTON TUFT ON SOUNDCLOUD ITS THE BEST THING EVER YAAAA!!&*&^#* and then a black hole swallowed the universe and what all was once came to an end.

  • Madznan Madso

    It’s hard not to complain if you’re living with pothead that think it’s acceptable to turn on the music loudly at 3 in the morning. Not too mention, you got to live with that bastard for another 4 months before the lease end. Thank Buddha, Jesus, Allah, Pastafari and 99 other gods for earplugs and headphone.

  • Ayesha

    Oh Positive Lauren , I’d like to be your friend ! 😀

  • Emarosa Raven

    Hi! I read your article and was wondering if you could help me out-
    I recently moved with my family to another country and now we live near our extended family.
    The problem is my whole extended family is really judgemental, nosy and just plain rude towards me ( I really dont know why- im always polite towards them) but nice and positive when my parents are around or in front of my parents. Just a year ago I realised that it’s been like this ever since I was a child- now at 17 I am trying to speak up about this to my parents ( as l couldnt hold my feelings in anymore- they were already causing mental and emotional damage) in hopes that they will distance themselves from these people as they are really toxic and contantly use us – but I have realised that speaking about this has only made my parents misunderstand me more and more and has branded me as whiny and someone who only complains all the time in basically the whole family! I dont think l was aggressive in my approach either- l was just stating the facts from time to time and not bombaring them with what id been/am through- I am so confused- were my complaints relevant?was it right to complain in the first place? is this all my fault and Do i need to change and stop complaining? Plz help- i just feel like i need the opinion of a third party on this whole sitiation and what i could do next!

  • Britt Moore

    I truly understand not ditching a friend in a time of need, but some people get stuck in a role of being a rescuer to someone who really doesn’t want to be rescued. Its that trap of thinking you can fix your friend. All you can do is try to listen. But a toxic friend sometimes needs to hit rock bottom and seek professional help. If an attempt at fixing them destroys you as well then you are now both lost. I agree sometimes you need to remove people from your life, especially if they are toxic to your marriage or your children. I had a friend like that who was constantly talking about killing herself and telling me it would be my fault if she died. I finally called her family and told her after 2 years of trying to rescue her, that I could no longer do it. She had spiraled out of control and my kids became afraid of her anger.

  • Kae

    i once had a friend who started complaining about little things her husband did. I’m glad I didn’t react in the self-righteous way but just listened. It turned out that her husband was having an affair. Though she didn’t know it–something was telling her things weren’t right.I’ve found when people are whining there is usually something bigger going on than the whine.