“And don’t complain as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer.” 1 Corinthians 10:10 CSB
Complaining is a destroyer, both of relationships and health. A study done by Stanford in 2016 showed complaining actually shrinks your hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that helps us problem solve. In a world full of problems, the last thing you want to do is shrink the part of the brain that solves problems, yet that is exactly what complaining does. Complaining also releases Cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Too much stress can wear you down both mentally and physically. The Stanford study also found frequent complaining can lead to heart disease and diabetes. Not only does complaining affect us physically, but it also affects our relationships. Who likes being around a complainer? I know I don’t. People that complain constantly exude negative energy, nothing about complaining is uplifting and encouraging. Instead of building people up, complaining tears people down and it destroys relationships. People won’t want to be around you if you’re constantly complaining. How can we stop complaining? Will Bowen came up with a way.
In 2006 Will Bowen was the pastor of a small midwestern church. He was doing a sermon series on prosperity. All of his congregation wanted to be more prosperous, yet they were constantly complaining about what they already had. Why would you want more stuff to complain about? Will issued a challenge to his congregation. He challenged them to not complain for 21 days. He bought purple bracelets and handed them out to everyone. The challenge was simple, put the bracelet on either wrist on day one. If you complain, no matter what day you’re on, you have to move it to the other wrist and start all over again at day one. He found it takes the average person 4-8 months to actually go 21 days without complaining. Since 2006 Will’s movement has given out over 11 million bracelets, he’s written 3 books and has become a leading scholar on complaining. You can learn more about Will’s “Complaint Free World” movement here.
My challenge is much easier than Will’s, just do one day. Just for today, don’t complain about anything. If you want a reminder, put a rubber band on your wrist, every time you complain, snap it. Or try to go 21 days without complaining as Will suggests, you can use a rubber band just as easily as a purple bracelet to remind you of your goal. Whatever you choose, become more aware of the words you use. Ask yourself, are my words building up or tearing down? If they’re tearing down, re-frame them into a positive statement. Instead of complaining that it’s raining, yet again, thank God for watering the flowers. If your husband has once again left the sink full of dirty dishes, instead of complaining, thank God you have a husband who provides for you. Whatever the complaint is, look for the positive side of it, there is always one if we look hard enough to find it. But first we have to stop complaining.