There’s Always Chocolate

If I were a child, I would have either distracted myself with a shiny object or handed me a bottle and told myself it was time for a nap and a diaper change. 

It really wasn’t a good week. It’s likely due to the fact that I’m fighting the lingering effects of a wicked flu bug while trying to dig out from a heftier than usual workload. 

While I didn’t lose my mojo, I definitely lost, or at least misplaced, my normal, fairly resilient, Pollyannaish self. Instead, I became a whiner who moaned and complained about pretty much everything.

When my kids used to whine, I would draw on humour and mimic them or just pretend I didn’t understand what they were saying until they used a normal voice. While those strategies may have worked on kids, I’m not sure about their applicability to adults. As a result, I got thinking about the best way to deal with negativity and complaints from a whiny adult.

Here’s the resulting five pieces of advice I gave myself.

“Self”,  I said, “Stay calm, pause, and meditate”. Research clearly demonstrates that meditation reduces stress, boosts positive energy, and promotes health, vitality, and a longer life. And, while I know that’s true, the reality is that I’m not all that good at sitting still long enough to meditate.  Instead, I did a form of meditating that works best for me. I booked myself a blissful massage. Ahhhhh.

My second piece of advice to the whiner within me was, “Practice gratitude”. My mother, not to mention scientific research, says that when we count our blessings each day, we get a measurable increase in our happiness that is invigorating and uplifting. Part of counting our blessings is that it keeps things in perspective. It’s harder to whine about your own life after you read the newspaper.  As I once heard someone say, it’s hard to complain when you realize your garbage disposal probably eats better than thirty percent of the people in the world.

Drawing on my learnings from the Dale Carnegie course I took many years ago, I also suggested to my whiny self that I get busy praising and complimenting others rather than whining about what they were doing wrong. Focusing on someone else is not only good for you, the compliments are good for the recipient.

After that, I gave myself a little talking-to and suggested I start focusing on success by painting a positive and inspiring picture for the future rather than wallowing. I spent more time thinking about the meaningful work we’re doing by strengthening community leadership. When that didn’t work, I focused on our upcoming vacation and images of a sunny beach.

Lastly, I suggested I just give it up. Rather than whining about what I had no power to change, I would let it go and focus on what I was able to change. Doing that also made me better able to remember and embrace the idea that things always do get better.

That’s it, that’s all the advice I’ve got. But, if the above advice doesn’t work, there’s always chocolate.

Posted on 11-14-10


Brenda!  Love the blog - and there’s nothing wrong with a little whining once in awhile.  When I feel sorry for myself, I watch a really sappy movies so I have a reason to cry my eyes out.  Then I feel better.  And yes - chocolate always helps!

Too funny!

•Posted by Janet Naclia  on  11/15/10  at  08:18 AM


As always this column is entertaining and provides good advice! I don’t know how you manage to write about this in such a positive way when you are totally buried in work. Its very inspiring. Thanks.

•Posted by Carol Petersen  on  11/18/10  at  02:06 PM


I like your positive outlook in your life, Brenda. Counting your blessings is really great thinking to inspire us to do good everyday.

•Posted by Dasley David  on  02/10/14  at  11:06 PM

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