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Saying No

Posted on Monday, August 30, 2021
Is your plate piled high with deadlines and obligations? Are you trying to cram too many activities into too little time? If so, stress relief can be as straightforward as just saying no. Saying no is a complete sentence and you don't need to explain yourself!

Some of us were never taught as a child how to tell people no. When we were told to go give aunt Ida a hug, it wasn't up for debate and we weren't allowed to say no - so you just did as you were told. This has embedded in our minds and we tend to do as we are told, even if it's not something we want to do.

Saying no can be hard at first, especially as you get more comfortable doing it. But just think how rewarding it can be when you pass on something you didn't want to do in the first place.

When to actually say no
Sometimes, we say yes because we don't know what we want. Other times, we simply need to gather ourselves enough to speak up.
Will saying yes prevent me from focusing on something that's more important?
Will saying yes make me even more tired or burnt out?
Will saying yes be good for my mental health? Or will it worsen my symptoms?
In the past, when have I said yes and then ended up regretting it?
If I say yes, will it be expected from me from now on?


Learning to say no is simple. You don't owe anyone an explanation if you don't want to. Here are some things to keep in mind while saying no -
Say no. The word no has power. Don't be afraid to use it. Be careful about using vague substitute phrases, such as "I'm not sure" or "I don't think I can." These can be interpreted to mean that you might say yes later.
Be brief. State your reason for refusing the request, but don't go on about it. Avoid elaborate justifications or explanations. Be clear and be decisive.
Be honest. Don't fabricate reasons to get out of an obligation. The truth is always the best way to turn down a friend, family member or co-worker.
Be respectful. Many good causes may land at your door, and it can be tough to turn them down. Complimenting the group's effort while saying that you can't commit shows that you respect what they're trying to accomplish. For example, you could say something similar to, "Thank you for the opportunity, but I have a full plate right now."
Be ready to repeat. You may need to refuse a request several times before the other person accepts your response. When that happens, just hit the replay button. Calmly repeat your no, with or without your original rationale, as needed.
Taken from the Mayo Clinic

Clear and kind ways to decline:
"Unfortunately, I will need to pass on this."
"Thanks, but that's not going to work for me."
"I am unable to."
"I'm sorry friend, but I can't do that."
Avoid responding with an open end answer that leaves room for assumptions
"I am not sure", "I don't know", "it's tough to say"
"I have to check and get back with you."
"That may work."
When declining, return with genuine gratitude:
"Thanks for thinking of me!"
"Rain check? Please think of me next time!"
"I am honored at the request!"
If you want to, you can give a brief explanation:
"Thanks so much for the invite - I have just had a crazy week at work and I need to have some wind down time with the family."
"I am completely booked this week, but thanks for thinking of me, maybe next time!"
"Due to the pandemic, I can't attend in fear of my significant other's health being high risk."
Sometimes you really want to say yes, but the timing is off - but you would like to accept the offer another time. Explaining that can help make sure you are offered in the future!
Or if you have the connections that someone is looking for - you can offer that instead:
"I am sorry you need a place to stay but my house is just too chaotic at the moment. Do you need help finding an Air BnB until your new apartment opens up?"

It will take lots of practice getting used to saying no and standing your ground - but in the end it's so rewarding to take control of your own life and do what you want to do without stressing or over stimulating yourself at the expense of your mental wellness!

Here's a great resource that can help you say NO!