Saying “no” can be good for you

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If you are someone who just can’t seem to say “no,” to people who ask you to do things, you don’t have the time or energy to do, this article was written with you in mind. The requests can come from family or friends, community or workplace. The request is made, and without even thinking about it, your response is often “yes, I could do that, no problem.” You have said “yes” when what you really meant to say was “no, I really don’t have the time right now. I have way too many commitments as it is.” You may ask yourself, so why do I keep doing this? The answer is simple. You are a person who likes to please. You do not like to disappoint, or feel you have let other people down. When you say “no,” you feel guilty. The problem however with saying “yes” too many times, is that you can soon start feeling overwhelmed, highly stressed and often quite irritable.

Here are a few reasons why, saying “no” to extra requests, can be good for you: • You will have more time and energy to do the things that you have already committed to • You will have more time and energy to do the things that are on your personal priority list. • You will not be as stressed, as you will not feel as overextended. • You will probably be much happier- less angry and resentful. • You will be healthier, as you will be less tired and therefore less prone to illness.

Because saying “no” is not something that will come naturally to you, you are going to need to learn how to say “no” and to practice. There are a lot of great workbooks you can buy now on assertiveness, which teaches the art of saying “no,” but here are a few suggestions to get you started: • Give a few reasons for saying “no” but make it brief such as - “I’d love to help you out, but I have already made some plans with my family for that day.” • Don’t over apologize- “I’m sorry, but I’m not available that day.” • Don’t lie about why you are saying “no” (then you really will have something to feel guilty about) • Suggest alternatives, such as – “I can’t help you this weekend, but what about next?”

There will obviously be many things that you will want to say “yes” to. Just remember to say “yes” to yourself, your needs and interests. You will know your are making good progress when you are able to say - “I just said “no,” and I did not feel in the least bit guilty.” Good luck.

Keeping Health in Mind is a monthly newspaper column made possible with the help of Seaway News and the clinical staff of Tri-County Mental Health Services, a community program of the Cornwall Community Hospital/Hôpital Communautaire de Cornwall.

Organizations: Seaway News, Tri-County Mental Health Services, Cornwall Community Hospital/Hôpital Communautaire de Cornwall

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