Skip to content
Home » News » The Importance of Saying No: Practical Tips for a Healthier Life

The Importance of Saying No: Practical Tips for a Healthier Life

The Importance of Saying No: Practical Tips for a Healthier Life

Saying no is a problem many of my clients struggle with. It’s so challenging that many people seek my help to find ways to avoid saying no altogether. As a result, they end up sleep-deprived, depressed, anxious, resentful, and physically ill. This has got to stop.

First, we all have to accept that saying no is necessary. There are countless obligations and requests, making it impossible to say yes to everything. Many requests must be turned down simply because there isn’t time for everything. So, let’s agree on that: we need to say no. Now, why is it so hard?

Reasons Why Saying No is Difficult

  1. We Really Want to Say Yes
    • We might want to help out with the Halloween carnival at school because it seems fun and we want to create wonderful memories for our children.
  2. Fear of Missing Out
    • We fear that saying no will exclude us from future opportunities.
  3. Conditioned to Prioritize Others
    • We’ve been trained to put others’ needs and wants first, feeling guilty if we don’t help.
  4. Lack of Self-Understanding
    • Sometimes we aren’t in touch with our desires, making it easier to let others dictate our schedules.
  5. Fear of Rejection
    • We worry that people won’t like us if we say no, fearing their disapproval and judgment.

Practical Tips on Saying No

  1. Create Thinking Room
    • If someone from the school asks you to volunteer, say, “Thank you so much for thinking of me. Let me check my calendar and get back to you.” This gives you time to decide if you want to accept or decline. When you call back, say, “I have checked my calendar and won’t be able to help out, but thank you for asking.”
  2. Handle Persistent Relatives or Friends
    • Don’t answer the phone immediately. Turn off the ringer. If they complain, say, “Oops, I didn’t realize I had the ringer off, and then I got busy and didn’t check my phone until this evening.”
    • If you answer the phone, keep the conversation short: “I’m glad I got to check in with you, but I need to get started on my work. I’ll catch up with you soon.”
  3. Create Distance
    • Remember, some people will take as much time and attention as you give them. They will be unhappy but will get over it and find someone else to talk to.
  4. Be Unavailable
    • Start acting flaky and “forgetting” to do things you don’t want to do. This signals people that you are no longer their go-to person.
  5. Set Boundaries
    • Announce that you are pursuing spiritual objectives and won’t be doing anything extra for six months. Limit phone calls to a specific time and duration. Ask for their support during this time.
  6. Embrace a New Persona
    • Pretend you are an artist or a free spirit. Say, “Hey, I’m an artist. I don’t feel like talking right now.”
    • Imagine you are the Queen of England, kind and gracious but firm in your decisions.

As you can see, it’s possible to be delightful while saying no. If someone doesn’t get the message, just say “no” firmly. I’m proud of you. You are getting good at this. Remember, saying no is essential for maintaining your health and well-being.