A Complaining Detox… Attempted

How negative thoughts can be turned into positive

Alex Ketcham, Sports Editor

Complaining can be a small statement once in while or a long term habit. However, when reflecting on complaints you typically make, you realize how many times you complain and how unnecessary complaining can be (Photo by Alex Ketcham)

I would not call myself a negative person or a chronic complainer, but I wouldn’t put it past myself to speak my mind if I find something unfair or upsetting. But this past week, I was tasked with not complaining once throughout the week.

When I was told by my editor, Caroline Sun, that this was my task, my first thought was to complain that I had to be positive about everything for a week. However, after a couple of days of processing what this task actually meant, which was to find the good in everything I realized something important:  in the words of Monty Python, always look on the bright side of life.

Day One

To be completely honest, I forgot about the challenge from the beginning of the day. It took a few hours to remember that I was supposed to not complain about anything. Once I began to look back on the morning that I was in the building, I remember saying to one of my classmates that “I feel like passing periods are too long in the building.” 

I immediately broke the challenge. From that point on the rest of the day, I worked really hard to not complain.

Days 2-4

These next few days, I was more successful with not complaining about life because I tried to not say anything negative that popped into my head. However, I discovered a new issue with this strategy. The challenge that Caroline gave me was to twist the negative into positive.

I was not doing that, so I then had to switch my perspective once again. This is where I really started to feel the effects of increased positivity.

Days 5-7

The last few days of my challenge were when I truly started to hit my stride. I was able to turn the negative into positive. For example, this time was from when I was at home and at work so instead of saying “This rainy weather is really annoying me and giving me a headache” or “the end of my workday can’t come soon enough”, I said “This weather is making me want to stay inside and watch movies” or “I am happy that I able still able to work through this pandemic”.

I was very proud of my ability to switch the negative into positive. It started out rough and extremely difficult but it got easier with a change of perspective.

Post-challenge reflection: 

At the end of the week, I looked back on this struggle and I discovered that I had become happier and more excited for each day. Again, I was not a completely negative person before this week, but this challenge made me realize two things: one being that I voice my negative opinions more often than I thought, and the other being that the process of being positive is a choice.

Through what has been one of the most annoying, unfair, and depressing years of the 18 I have experienced, I discovered and understood that there is always something to be grateful for. Complaining and voicing negative beliefs are a completely normal thing in life, but finding a balance between positive and negative is what will create the most comprehensive and complete beliefs. This idea of balance can be applied to everything: attitude, goal setting, beliefs of all kinds, how we react to situations, and how we respond. Balance is what contributes to a comprehensive understanding of life. 

I highly recommend anyone reading this to challenge themselves to turn the negative into a positive for a week, a day, or even an hour. It might help you learn more about yourself and give you better vibes.


To read about a week of Social Media detox, click here.