The bright side of life

Attempting a complaining detox


Photo by Grace Sun

This was my calendar for the week of the challenge. Although I had many assignments and tests, not complaining so much helped to ease some of the stress that I felt, as I stopped focusing on only the negative aspects of my life.

I am a “glass half empty” kind of person, and everyone who knows me knows it too. That’s why I did this challenge. Suggested to me by the Bear Facts staff and inspired by Alex Ketcham’s A Complaining Detox… Attempted, the name of the challenge speaks for itself: the ‘No Complaining Challenge’. Seeing my life in a more positive light was tough for me, but it’s exactly what I needed at the moment; with the semester coming to a close and tests every week, there was a lot to complain about.

Day 1:

Monday was the first day of this challenge and it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. (There I go complaining again!) I woke up in the morning thinking that if I thought about only positive things, I would be able to pass the challenge. What I didn’t realize was that I complained so often that it basically was my whole vocabulary. I wanted so badly to say that I was annoyed that a certain class or a certain assignment was too difficult. Complaining is so natural to me that oftentimes I did not even realize I was doing it. Monday was definitely a wake-up call for me.

Day 2:

To be honest, my challenge didn’t go much better for me on the second day. Similarly to Monday, I had a hard time paying attention to what I was saying and acknowledging when I was complaining. It was only when I looked back on my day that I realized I said a lot of negative things. That didn’t make me feel too good about myself, but thankfully, my friends held me accountable, so I tried to do better the next day.

Day 3:

I think I got better at not complaining on day 3. I was really busy, as I had received a lot of homework from my teachers, and I also had an orchestra concert. Usually, I am pretty negative about concerts because they are too long or boring. However, on Tuesday, I told myself I wasn’t going to think like that. And I didn’t! Instead of dreading going on stage, I thought about how I was thankful to show the audience (especially my mom) the pieces that we’ve been practicing for months. I forgot about how long the concert took because I enjoyed myself playing on stage. Day 3 went pretty well, I think.

Day 4:

Today, I only had to come to school to take the PSAT, so I feel like there was not much for me to complain about. I embraced the test because I felt that it was a chance for me to prepare for the real SAT. Also, although I have a math test tomorrow, I decided to make the conscious decision not to complain to my parents about how stressed I was, which is what I usually do. In the past few days of this challenge, I realized that telling people about my life doesn’t make things any better, and that it just makes them feel stressed for me. I’m doing better at completing my challenge; I notice that I am slowly becoming more cautious about the things that I choose to say.

Day 5: 

I think I actually did pretty well today. Maybe it is because today is a Friday, but I felt very positive about the events that happened at school today. For example, I took an important math test and even though I struggled to solve the last problem, I did not beat myself up over it after class. I knew I could still retake the test, so it was not the end of the world. I did not realize how much better I feel when I’m not negative about my life.


Making conscious decisions about my words is definitely a lesson that I need to continue beyond the scope of my challenge. When I took the time to actually listen to my complaints, I realized that what I was saying was pretty useless because it doesn’t help me make any progress in my life. Though it might be impossible for me to stop saying negative things altogether, I have noticed that I complain too much, and spend too much time thinking about things that have not even happened yet. I still have a lot to improve on for sure, because old habits die hard. However, I think that this ‘No Complaining Challenge’ has been a good place to start!