5 Tips To Stop Whining

5 Tips to stop Whining

How you can stay positive and stop whining

We're not always positive. Influenced by society, experience, upbringing, and exposure to the news we go through life. Yes, we try our best and we want to be happy. Always. But roadblocks and exhaustion can make it difficult and sometimes we enter the vale of tears. We know that whining neither helps the situation nor does it make us feel good. So how can we stay positive when the going gets tough? No whining please because:

It changes your brain

Neuroplasticity is a term that refers to the brain's ability to change its structure and function. Nerve cells die, new ones form. Brain scans proved what we suspected all along: who's whining a lot becomes more and more negative. The reason for that is that our brain cannot differentiate between what we think and what we experience. Imagine the synaptic connections like paths between nerve cells. The more you train them, the more you walk them, the more you activate them the more approachable these nerve cells will become. The good thing about it is: training and repetition lead us to our goal. But if you train whining and complaining, you will become an expert in negative emotions. The number of times you walk a path will decide which path becomes your Main Street. Negative emotions cause a physical reaction. You probably noticed: when you're mad your heart rate increases and when you are afraid your muscles become tense. The hormones that regulate these reactions are either feel-well hormones that make you happy or fear and stress hormones, for instance, cortisol, that cause tension. If you feel negative emotions over and over again, more and more of the, in this case, undesirable hormones get released. That lowers your resistance to the next stress attack and puts you in a downward spiral.

Happiness is your decision

The first step to stop whining is to make a conscious decision:
  • Do I want to be a positive person?
  • See things and positive light?
  • Have confident expectations and
  • Focus on solutions?
Or do I want to be a negative person? Be critical about everything and find errors everywhere. And, no, the decision isn’t as easy as it seems. Obviously, all of us want to go through life as happy as possible. But the whining status has a lot of advantages and you must understand those to make an educated decision.

Whining feels good sometimes

In our society, bonding over a shared enemy or negative situation is a common way of socializing. Just listen to conversations all around you. We bond when we complain about the bad weather or when we commiserate with others and we team up when we find a common enemy. A trick of our mind: if something terrible happens, our brain helps us out by making us feel as we are the unluckiest person in the world. The most terrible thing in the world just happened to us. Not just one unlucky person. Oh, no! The most unlucky person ever in all of earth, space, universe and beyond. It might sound absurd but this is how our brain helps us to feel like a winner even when we lose. Whining can help us to feel better. It takes guts and honesty to acknowledge our own responsibility when something goes wrong. And it can be painful. Last but not least, whining is a fabulous way of getting attention. And I don’t mean that in a negative way. Some of our problems are wicked and dark and the last thing people around us want us to do is to tell them our deepest problems. What we do instead if we feel that we need some attention: we complain about something else. Imagine you’re standing in line in front of a register. It would be pretty awkward if you said something like: “I have been diagnosed with herpes and that worries me” to a random stranger. But what if you complained about the slow cashier instead? The people around you have problems too and they might be just glad that they can bond with you by complaining about the store with the worst cashiers. That way everyone can get a bit of empathy and compassion while at the same time none of the unspoken rules of society have been broken and nobody felt awkward (besides the cashier should they overhear your conversation).  

Top five tips against whining

Don’t think this challenge is easy for me. We’re all human and everyone gets caught up in whining from time to time. But I have learned how I can minimize whining attacks and become a more positive person. I would love to share that knowledge with you:

Observe and recognize

The first step is to recognize that you are whining. Often we are not aware of it. But first off let me say loud and clear: do not stress yourself. If you catch yourself whining, don't despair! It’s a good thing. Knowing is the first and necessary step to making changes. For the rest of today look for the source of every negative emotion. And ask yourself:
  • How can I change my perspective?
  • How can I invite more love, acceptance, and problem solving into that moment?
And breathe deep and slowly. That always helps. An effective tool to calm your mind and for effective stress-management is brainwave entrainment. You'll find more in my digital STORE [playlist ids="1882,1883,1884,1885,1886,1887,1888,1889,1890,1891,1892,1893,1894"]

Solution mindset vs victim mindset

Let’s say you recognized something critical. Breeze deep and calm and ask yourself:
  • What can I do?
  • What besides whining and feeling bad can I do about the situation?
  • Is there anything I can say?
  • Is there anything I can do?
Do not accept:" it is what it is" answers. Love it–change it–leave it.

Positive outlook

Perceiving a difficult situation positive is not as easy as suggesting it. But it is easy to actively look for the positives and change how you feel about a situation. We have a strong tendency towards a negative mindset. The positive, grateful mindset first has to be learned. So ask yourself in the morning: “what am I looking forward to today?” And ask yourself in the evening: “what am I grateful for today?” List five positive things that happened today. While you do that, you will realize that there were a lot of small wonderful moments you had already forgotten. As we’ve discussed earlier: the more you do that the more it becomes an automatism. Every day has both: good and bad moments. You decide which have a stronger impact. At the same time, you set your brain filters to getting you more of whatever you focus your mind on. Article: Mastering the Art of Gratitude Another question that works miracles is: “How can I make the world a little better today?” Inhale good moments. Should your life be in a difficult stage right now, inhale the small good moments. The warm sun on your face, the good book, the person smiling at you. There are many things in everyone’s life to be grateful for. Train that. It will make you happier and more stress-resistant.

Focus on the big picture

You know these moments when something really extreme, intense happens. The death of a loved one or the birth of a baby. Those moments when the world seems to stand still for a moment. It’s not just about us anymore. We recognize the whole cycle of life, the ups and downs and what really matters. Most of the things we stress about are neither permanent nor relevant. Humility can help us to become fully aware of the gift of life and therefore become more positive. Train yourself to focus on the big picture. Meditation and mindfulness are helpful tools to achieve this.

Here. Now.

I practice mindfulness. I teach mindfulness. I read books about mindfulness. You know why? Most of our fears and worries have their roots in the future or past. That even applies to pain. A huge part of our suffering is related to worries that are not directly caused by the pain. Now is the time. This moment counts. Focus on what it is right now. If you need to learn how, feel free to have a look at my digital mindfulness training. Also, if you sign up to my newsletter, I can invite you to my next free workshop.

Life is great

As an apprentice to positivity, you will learn that not everyone is appreciative of your new mindset. Actually, there are a lot of people who find positive people annoying. Don’t let that irritate you. Send them extra love. Try to infect them with positivity. Don’t try to change them but also don’t let them pull you down. Take a step back, breathe deep and stop fighting. If you find that difficult, you will find tons of information on effective stress management throughout my blog.

Final words

Coming back to the example from earlier on: positive and negative people have one thing and common: We all feel the need to bond. And we will all face difficult situations. While we can’t tell our worst problems to every random person we meet, we can bond over a positive common denominator: Instead of bonding over how slow the cashiers are, we could bond by starting a conversation about how this store typically provides great service. While that might seem like a rather small example, you will realize that complaining to bond is one of the big factors why you whine. Complaining to avoid taking action is another one. So is whining to make yourself feel better. When your brain tries to comfort you the next time by telling you that you are THE person who attracts the all the bad luck: Just tell it "Thanks, brain. But no, thanks. Let's make me feel better with positive thoughts of gratitude." The tips work with all of them. Why not try it right now?   [1-click-image-ranker]

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Dealing With Toxic People – Plan A and B

Dealing With Toxic People

Remove toxic people from your life?

It's easy, right? If you spot a toxic person, you avoid them. That is Plan A. If only it were that easy ... How can we tell a negative person from a destructive one? And what if they are our employees, family members, bosses or even our spouses?

Why emotional intelligence helps to deal with toxic people

Do toxic people exist?

First, I would like to answer an ethical/philosophical question. Is it allowed to define other people as toxic? Or is it too simplified? Is it compatible with a mindful way of life? Is not every one of us a product of his upbringing and his circumstances? And doesn't a toxic person deserve respect, even though he makes life difficult for others? My answer: We have to call a duck a duck. And if someone acts immoral, destructive or antisocial, I may call it by its name. I will go even further: I feel I may say someone who acts chronically destructive is poison. Luckily, toxic people are rare. We must not mistake just any negative person for a poisonous one.

What is a toxic person?

When you were in contact with a toxic person they leave you with a bad feeling in your stomach. You might not be able to pinpoint what causes your uneasiness. But you know instinctively that the contact did not do you good. Toxic. As if you were exposed to poison. Some typical behavior patterns of toxic people:
  • They start a fight where a constructive conversation would suffice.
  • Often they have a learning resistance. They do not want to understand your point of view and don't consider changing theirs.
  • They do not have a strong sense of "wrong" and "right". They are right and everyone else is wrong.
  • Overstepping boundaries is another characteristic. They do things they are not entitled to and don't respect limits.
  • They have concrete expectations but do not put them in words. If you cannot deliver, you will get punished. Example: Your boss tells you: "Build a delightful house" (he expects it has a cellar and features green paint but doesn't say so until he criticizes you for the red house you built.)
  • Toxic people are skilled at emotional blackmailing and guilt tripping you.
  • To get what they want, they lie. They might leave information out, start rumors or straight lie.
  • Manipulation is another feature often seen in toxic people. They'll tell you what you want to hear to get you on their team or achieve their goals.
  • Often they are jealous and full of other negative feelings (always self-reflective)
  • They show no empathy or consideration for your needs and well-being.
As I said earlier toxic people are rare. Occasionally we might exhibit negative behavior ourselves. We are not perfect and we have weak moments. We make mistakes. That doesn't make us toxic.
A toxic person acts like listed above most of the time. The behavioral pattern is the norm, not an exception. That is how you can tell a toxic person.
Sometimes "normal" people temporarily turn into toxic people, when they are under severe emotional pressure. For instance, when their partner leaves them, they get fired or someone they love dies.

How to deal with toxic people

First, we have to understand that a person we are dealing with is destructive. That implies that we have a healthy amount of self-esteem and awareness.
Toxic people are brilliant at making you feel as if you are the problem - and not them. Most times, it takes people long to even realize they are being manipulated.
Often, people suffer for years at a workplace with a toxic boss or in a marriage with a destructive person until they understand. Some severe forms of toxic people, i.e. psychopath, are masters at hiding their true colors.
Earlier this week, I worked with a CEO who had a toxic employee. Destructive people are not limited to certain roles.

Don't take it personally

That is the most demanding and most important tip. How on earth do you not take it personally when someone spreads poison over you?
That is hard. Very hard. But it is the way to go.
The more personal you take it the more emotional you will react. A toxic person often feeds on your emotional reactions.
Energy thieves that suck you dry and leave you empty.
Don't let that happen to you.
There is a second reason you should not take this toxic attack personally: if we feel attacked, we want revenge. Attack - counterattack - more aggressive attack - more aggressive .... you get the picture.
Keep telling yourself: "This is not about me, my personality, my person or my words.The other person wants to take it to a personal level but I will not allow this because it only weakens me."

Protect yourself mentally

Toxic people often use the big guns. Their ammunition is pure emotion.
  • They insult you on a personal level
  • They stalk you
  • They do hurtful and harmful things
  • They accuse you
  • They invade your privacy and ignore boundaries
Emotional intelligence helps to process these attacks systematically. Mindfulness is another powerful defense supporting you in gaining back control over your mind.
Talking to others can be a source of support. It is not as helpful as getting professional help, and there is a risk that the topic will soon go on the other one's nerves.
Things you can ask yourself to process emotional attacks:
  • What has been said/done with the sole intention of hurting me?
  • How much importance do I want to give a person who obviously just wants to harm me?
  • Which parts of what they said are true?
  • Which conclusions/accusations do I deem valid?
Emotionally intelligent people would know the most important factor: "What is someone's motivation and agenda?"
Questions like these help you differentiate between poison and reality. They also help you decide if you are dealing with a toxic person. Keep in mind: Not every negative person is a toxic person.

Set boundaries

Toxic people cross borders, invade your privacy and act encroaching.
They do things they shouldn't do. They don't do things they should do.
What you can do is verbalize a factual and clear statement. Your statement should outline the consequences of ignoring it.
Stipulations should be clear and precise. Try to focus on the facts only. No emotions. No conclusions.

Focus only on your own goals

A toxic person can trap you in his web of blackmail, lies, allegations, self-pity, etc in no time.
That can make it hard to keep a level head. Often we resort to putting ourselves on the same level as the toxic person. We fight back in the same emotional way.  At least we try.
On the playfield of the toxic person, we are hopelessly inferior.
The poison dwarf (I hope that translates from German) just has more routine.
A simple question can help to redirect your thoughts in the right direction:
"What do I want to achieve in this relationship realistically?"
Emphasis on realistically.
Your realistic goal could be to seek the help of a coach. Or to find a new job in the next six months.
Sometimes, for instance, if the toxic person is your sick Grandfather who has only two months left to live, the only realistic goal is to protect yourself mentally and physically.
You should always set a goal for yourself when you're dealing with toxic people.
Important is that you set a realistic goal.

Keep your compassion in check

It speaks for you if you are a compassionate, empathetic person. Your excellent character can become a trap when you're dealing with a toxic person because they will try to take advantage of it.
They will make it sound as if their negative behavior is your fault and you're the one to blame.
They will offer explanations and excuses for why they are who they are. You might feel bad for them.
And they deserve our pity.  It must be horrible to be trapped in your own destructiveness and negativity.
You will be a helpless victim in the hands of a toxic person if you develop a guilty conscience for looking after yourself or setting boundaries.
Feel bad for the toxic person if you like. But stick to your goal.
Whatever causes the person to become destructive might be sad, but your well-being comes first.

Get support

Being exposed to someone toxic is exhausting, energy-sapping and upsetting. It can damage your self-esteem and well-being.
Consider hiring someone who can help you through it.
People who deal with toxic people on their own often doubt themselves at some point. Friends might listen and comfort you but could provide unhelpful advice because of a lack of experience with this kind of situation.

Don't assume the toxic person wants peace

Positive peaceful people assume that others feel just like them. That everyone wants to get along. But that isn't true. Toxic people are looking for conflict, emotion, intrigue.
A high EQ helps you to understand the agenda and motivation of someone. Misjudging someone's motivation can lead to clumsy and unhelpful actions.
Toxic people are not looking for peace. They are not looking for harmony.  They want war. Whatever they might tell you.
For them, it is not exhausting, troubling and hurtful like it is for you. For them, it is a distraction from having to be alone with themselves.

Don't try to convince poison

"Oh, if only he would understand that he's making life difficult for others. If I could just make him understand my perspective."
Well, you can't. Accept it.
Toxic people are not interested in learning about your perspective. Some might pretend to be to keep the energy theft and parasitic relationship going.
Don't try to convince them. They don't want to hear it. They don't want that there is truth in what you are saying. Because then they would have to question themselves.  And that is not what they want to do.
Again: set limits, set a goal, protect your soul. Get support.

Don't try to understand the toxic person

When someone acts toxic and destructive, our first reaction is perplexity. We ask ourselves: "Why are they doing that?"
Difficult childhood?  Mental disorder? Never got chances?
It doesn't matter. The only time when this matters is if you are their psychotherapist. The human mind is a complex matter and you will not understand why they act the way they do.
You are just wasting energy  that you should invest in the three important points:
  • What is my realistic goal in this situation?
  • How can I protect myself mentally?
  • What are my limits, and how can I protect them?

Act, don't just react

You often end up in an exchange of blows when dealing with destructive people.
He does that. I retaliate. He attacks again. Now I will show him what wood I am made of!
That can soon spiral out of control.  Just look at the silly number of sensible people who end up in court after fighting their neighbors for years.
People will often act upon the actions of their "enemy". They react and that makes them calculable.
And that is the playfield of manipulative people. Toxic people are way better at the game of action and reaction than you.
They are not afraid of conflict, stress and pressure. On the contrary, it's why they are playing this game. They need drama to feel alive and they thrive on it. Keep in mind, to them it's not exhausting like it is for you.
Once more: emotional intelligence is the key. Stay in control of your emotions and actions. Focused on your goal.
Some questions you can ask yourself to not become the play ball of the destructive person:
  • Which reaction do they expect from me?
  • What will happen if I don't react?
  • How can I break free from the spiral? AND
  • What was my goal again and which reaction supports it best?
Act. Don't react.
Take a deep breath. Turn on your intelligence. Look at the situation from a distance.

To sum things up

  • Don't take it personally
  • Protect yourself mentally
  • Set clear borders
  • Set goals and stay focused
  • Let no one guilt trip you
  • Get support
  • Don't assume the other one is looking for peace and harmony
  • Don't try to convince toxic people
  • Don't try to understand toxic people
  • Act, don't react
Is that easier written than done? It is.
The higher your EQ, the easier to deal with situations like this - and any other situation. Healthy self-confidence enables you to get out of abusive relationships.
Mindfulness training will help with stress-management and make sure you don't focus on the negative situation more than necessary.
Recommended tools:

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