Research shows that habitual complaining affects us mentally, emotionally, and physically. Such behavior may cause or worsen stress, sapping our energy and desire to pursue our dreams.Above all that, it just doesn’t feel good to complain, or hear complaints. They’re negative by nature and they don’t help resolve the situation you wish were different. Complaining can also keep you from being a likable person.

If you want to start attracting and creating the success you desire, you’ll want to stop complaining. Here are seven ways to break the habit of complaining, backed by science.


Research from Loma Linda University in California reveals that the simple act of laughter increases endorphins and sends mood-lifting dopamine to the brain. This hormone also has the power to lower stress levels by helping us process emotional responses and experience pleasure.

This solution is pretty simple: Bring more laughter into your life. As Law of Attraction advocate Steve Harvey says, “Laughter attracts joy and releases negativity.” If you allow more joy and laughter in your life, you won’t feel the pains and stresses as much. You won’t focus on them.

Whether it’s funny TV shows, comedy podcasts, or time with friends and family, there are more ways than ever to get laughing.

Try the “Rubber Band Technique”

We’ve all heard the story of Ivan Pavlov, the Russian physiologist who discovered that any activity or object he associated with food–yes, his famous bell!–would trigger the same salivation response in his dogs. What did he really discover? The power of conditioning.

You can apply this same principle to stop complaining. Put a rubber band around your wrist. When you complain about something, think about the complaint while you pull the rubber band back. Then release it so it stings the inside of your wrist.

This simple action serves as a physical and mental reminder that you’re complaining, and to reinforce the negativity around the action. It works by bringing subconscious acts into your daily consciousness. I did this when I wanted to stop my own complaining, and it worked.

See through the lens of gratitude

We tend to complain when we focus on the negative, not the positive. Keep a gratitude journal and write down three things you’re grateful for each night. This habit will help you see your life through the lens of gratitude, and not lack. As a result, you’ll simply see fewer things that prompt you to complain in the first place. Some schools of thought believe we can change our brain chemistry this way, and this process will help rewire you to see the positive.

Examine your relationships

Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn says it best: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” When trying to stop a bad habit, it helps to surround yourself with people–inspirational speakers or leaders, mentors, family and friends–who embody the same behaviors and discipline you want to live by.

Consider the power of your closest ties by examining how your relationships make you feel and behave. Take steps to end any toxic relationships, and invite more positive people into your inner circle and life.


Matthieu Ricard, a trained biochemist turned Buddhist monk, suggests we can train our minds to generate an ongoing sense of serenity and fulfillment through meditation. He cites brain plasticity, which is the ability of repetition and reinforcement to alter our synaptic connections.

I credit my regular meditation practice with raising my baseline for awareness and serenity, and lowering my baseline for stress and anxiety. After a few weeks of practicing meditation, I became more grounded and small things didn’t bother me as much.

Get more sleep

Studies show that getting more sleep helps us to be happier and more positive, while also building the mental acuity needed to stay focused. How much sleep do adults need? Research suggests between seven and nine hours nightly.

Exercise out the stress

There are few better ways to counter negativity than by getting your blood flowing and releasing endorphins through exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise has been shown to reduce stress and ward off feelings of anxiety or depression, which can lead to chronic complaining.

Putting it all together

Complaining is a negative behavior that affects our happiness, attitude, and ability to perform. Learn from what science teaches us about this bad mental habit–and how to bring more positive practices into your life starting today.