I ran across a fun exercise this week that challenges you to own your own behavior and be a constructive problem solver, not a whiner. Here's how it goes: for a 24 hour period this week, challenge yourself to not verbalize any complaints. Give it up entirely!

The observations you make about yourself may be very useful to you. Do you find yourself judging others? It's almost always best to stay away from judging others if you can. Are you complaining about something that can be changed or you have the power to make different? If so, make a shift that will stop the need for complaining.

I have tried this little homework assignment with several families, and we have really learned some valuable lessons together from it. Sometimes complaining becomes a bad habit. One family member whining can create an atmosphere where others join in, in a bad way.

In our families and in our relationships, we all get deaf to whining and complaining that is relentless. It's important to change what you need to, accept what you can't change, and move forward. Whining and complaining is emotionally exhausting--both for the person doing it, and everyone else who has to put up with it.

After that 24 hour complaint detox, then the next step is to make a list of everything you are grateful for. Keep the list where you can see it daily, perhaps where you get dressed in the morning. Next, hand write a letter to your partner (or the closest relationship you have) and tell them why you are grateful to have them in your life. I like the idea of mailing the letter to them with a stamp through the old-fashioned USPS, even if you live with them, for maximum impact.

Try this little exercise this week to shift your attitude. After all, attitude is everything in life, so pick a good one. The more you can become a powerful positive presence for yourself and others, the more you will enjoy your day to day life and savor the petite happinesses in life. The simple things of everyday life are where much of the joy is; don't let complaining kill the joy that is possible.