‘Saying Yes To Happiness Means learning to say no to things and people that stress you out’ ~ Thema Davis
“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” – Josh Billings
Saying yes can be unhealthy. When you’re over-committed and under too much stress, you’re more likely to feel run-down and get sick. (source) Are you trying to cram too many activities into too little time? In my post, ‘Is Stress Sabotaging Your Health?‘, I talk about the implications of the stress response on our overall health. I’m pretty sure by now that most people understand logically that stress is a total health zapper. Even though this may be ‘understood’, often people don’t realize just how much stress they are under until it’s too late. By then that stress has gone and totally sabotaged their health.
Do you have a hard time accepting the relationship between the stressful life you lead and the health issues you face? Maybe there are stresses in your life that do not need to be there, stresses you allow but really could have control over by just saying no. It will be easier to heal and recover when you have a better picture of what is really going on in your body during a stressful situation or ongoing stress. Recognizing the ‘energy zappers’ in our lives is key. Perhaps, you’ve said yes to one too many things this week with all good intentions and are now stressed about it. If you are anything like me, you have a lot of creative energy and joy in doing things that make you feel alive or things that help other people. The problem comes when you try to take on too many of those potentially ‘good things’ and find yourself worn quite thin.
Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda
Don’t let the ‘shoulds’ take hold in your life and don’t let anyone else ‘should’ on you. There are often things in life that we feel we ‘should’ do, but don’t really have to do. For example, do we really have to have perfectly clean homes? Or do we just think we do?
“Learning to say no can earn you respect from yourself as well those around you.”
― Auliq Ice
“Being unable to say no can make you exhausted, stressed and irritable.”
― Auliq Ice
Do you tend to let guilt guide your choices or actions? Perhaps you have people in your life, a family member maybe that makes you feel guilty with their ideas of what you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing with your life. It’s so important to create healthy boundaries in these cases and stand your ground. If you ever hear yourself saying ‘I should……’, stop and ask will it benefit your health. If anyone says ‘you should or you could’, don’t let them make you feel guilty if you really shouldn’t be doing what they think you should or could. I have suggestions thrown at me all the time and I have to often let them slide right on past. No one else is living your life, don’t let them should on you!
Are you a people pleaser? Are you always trying to be nice to others at the expense of yourself? You likely need to learn to say no far more often than someone who isn’t. Don’t let people make demands on your time. Learn to say ‘No’ to both people and tasks/activities that take away time in your life that is better spent on fostering your overall health.
Are you saying yes out of guilt? Learn to identify why saying no is so hard. Let’s establish one thing right off the bat – living with an emotion of guilt is unhealthy. Guilt or regret is only good when it helps us see where we did wrong and motivates us to change. Then we must move on and let go of any guilty feelings. Holding onto guilt or feeling guilt for what others want is a misplaced emotion and not healthy. The feeling of guilt should not be a feeling you allow to affect you overall. Sure, someone could be guilty of committing a crime, but that is not what I’m talking about here. The sense of guilt over not doing something because someone else is asking should never exist. If you are constantly trying to please others, eventually you will burn out and people will also learn to take advantage of you. No one wants to be taken for granted.
Learn to weigh your priorities so that in the long term it will benefit your health, not hamper it. Saying no doesn’t mean you are a ‘bad’ person; it simply means you have to set your own priorities and boundaries. It means you respect yourself and in return others will respect you too. That in and of itself is very empowering!
This is particularly a challenge for women, it’s so easy to feel obligated to say yes because we don’t want to seem rude. Women are by very nature, nurturing and loving. That in turn inclines us to want to be helpful We say yes even when we don’t want to because we do not want to offend or insult. Ladies, does this ring true for you? If so, try the next activity…..
Yes Or No: Make A List
I’d like to suggest a little activity to try that could help you learn to prioritize what things to say ‘yes’ to, and what things to say ‘no’ to. Get out a piece of paper and pencil, we’ve got some list making to do!
- Your Yes List – What you feel good about doing and what you have to do in a given day. Keep in mind what you HAVE to do in a day should be viewed as if you don’t get them done today someone will suffer for it, an urgent problem will arise. Get my point. I also suggest adding at least 1-2 stress busters on your list. Think of things that you can do that will help you release stress. Ex: Go for a hike, take a yoga class, take a relaxing bath, get a massage. Say yes to your need to reduce stress in your life by finding practices or activities that relax you!
- Your No List – Things you want to ignore that stress you out. Things that are not urgent, necessary or required in your life today or even ever! Part of this activity will require a bit of ‘reframing’. You may need to rethink how you think about your choices. For example: ‘Do I really need to make a gourmet dinner tonight, or will grass fed hot dogs and a salad do the trick? ‘
Once you’ve built your lists, see if there are any more yes items that can be made no items. If your health is run down in any way, you made need to be a little more ‘ruthless’ in slashing down the yes items on your list. From here on out, start out your day with a basic list of what you absolute must do. Work to check those things off, and then don’t add any more items if you are tired give yourself free time. Keep in mind that emergencies always pop up and we never know when will be ‘on call’ for something urgent.
Want More Articles Like This?
- Stress Relief: When and How To Say No – Mayo Clinic <–READ THIS ONE FIRST
- Say No To People Making Demands On Your Time
- 7 Simple Ways To Say ‘No’
- Learning To Say “No” Is Part Of Success
- Nine Practices To Help You Say No
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