Do You Ever Complain About Your Day? Here’s a way to get better at also noticing more of the good
When you get home from work, do you ever vent or complain about your day? Maybe you had to deal with a difficult customer, or there was a frustrating meeting, or you just had too much to do. It’s normal for us to remember and to share all the bad things that happened to us. It’s part of our survival instinct to replay and dwell on problems and stresses in our lives.
BUT… we can make it easier to shift our thinking and to have more enjoyable days by also remembering the good things that happened. This is not natural for us and takes some effort, especially at first. That’s because our brains are designed to ignore all of the positive stuff; we don’t need to notice the good stuff because it’s not a threat and does not require us to take action to protect our survival. In fact, our brains would call anything positive “Boring! Who cares?”
For example, how often do you appreciate the green lights when you’re in a hurry? How often do you notice the easy customers compared to the difficult ones? How often do you thank your helpful co-worker compared to complaining about the one who never seems to get their part of the project done?
Remember, this is normal! But the good news is we can train our brains to get better at also noticing the good.
Try this exercise. Every evening at dinner or bedtime, think back on your day and recall three good things. These can be simple, easy things like having that green light when you were late or the fact that your favorite socks were clean. Then either write them down or share them with a friend or family member to change your brain even faster. I’ve been doing this with my daughter almost every night when I tuck her into bed for the last four years. I want her brain to have a better balance of also paying attention to the good that is all around us.
Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is a positivity speaker, trainer, author, and founder of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to teaching organizations and individuals the power of positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures.