Practice Series: Challenge Yourself to a Day Without Complaints


The theme for this month’s practice series is GRATITUDEWe all know that gratitude is good for us—even just on a physical level, it boosts serotonin and dopamine in the brain, helping us feel better and connect more easily with others. 

As we explore gratitude this month, we’re starting our journey a little obliquely: by first cultivating awareness of those not-so-grateful parts of ourselves. Complaining carries its own charge. It can be a way to vent, seek support, and connect or commiserate with others. (Here in Minnesota, we love to complain about the weather.) Yet chronic complaining can also undermine our well-being and sense of gratitude in daily life.
This week’s practice aims to free up more space for gratitude by helping you become aware of how and when you complain. As you become more aware of that habit energy, there’s an opportunity to shift, freeing up mental space and carving out more room for gratitude. 


  1. Choose a day this week for this practice.
  2. Commit to not complaining for that day. This doesn’t mean you can’t express your truth, needs, or desires. But it's an invitation to be mindful about the way you express yourself.
  3. Throughout the day, pay attention to those moments when you feel an urge to complain. How does it feel in your body? What’s at the root of it? 
  4. If something does need to be voiced, see if you can reframe it to remove the complaint energy. Or consider if there’s an appropriate action you could take, like putting on a sweater rather than complaining about the cold.
  5. Don’t beat yourself up if a complaint slips out. Let it go and start again.   

If a day without complaints feels good, try it for another day! And please share: How did your no-complaints day go? What did you discover about your habit energy of complaining?  


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Anna Befort


Anna Befort is a magazine editor, freelance writer, yoga teacher, and avid tree climber who’s proud to hail from Midwest farm stock. Co-founder of Invoke Magazine, she’s inspired by creative grassroots collaborations and the ability of her black lab Samira to fully inhabit the joyfulness of each moment. She tries to use her grammatical superpowers only for good, and she loves sharing women’s stories and wisdom at


'Practice Series: Challenge Yourself to a Day Without Complaints' have 5 comments

  1. October 6, 2015 @ 7:10 pm Noreen

    I enjoyed doing this for a day! It was interesting to observe that habit energy, as you say: I don’t think of myself as much of a complainer, but I did notice myself making subtle/sneaky complaints, in the form of “I wish …” statements, where I’d wish things were different or “better” than they actually were instead of fully embracing reality.


    • October 8, 2015 @ 10:19 am Wendy McCulley

      Interesting comment about the “I wish” aspect of our thoughts. Will add that to the things that I observe this week.


  2. October 7, 2015 @ 1:18 pm Wendy

    I dedicated yesterday (Tuesday) to no complaints. One of the hard parts was in making the discernment between what was a complaint versus just telling a difficult truth to someone I love. When thinking in a mindful way, it was clear that it was a hard truth, but I’ve been so conditioned to believe that being honest, even gently, is somehow wrong. I decided to shift away from, just for a day, the task of sharing a hard truth, allowing yesterday to be about the pure bliss that comes from living in gratitude.


  3. Emily Levang

    October 11, 2015 @ 6:01 pm Emily Levang

    I found it fairly easy to abstain from complaining out loud, but I became more aware of the complaints that I make inside my own head. When I looked into that, I found that the complaint was covering over a deeper emotion, like sadness or worry. Getting in touch with that felt more authentic than the surface level of complaining.


  4. December 11, 2015 @ 1:00 pm Ryan Parks

    My gosh, what an amazing practice. Difficult, but really powerful.


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