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Stress relief: When and how to say no
Sure it's easier to say yes, but at what price to your peace of mind? Here's why saying no may be a healthier option for stress relief.By Mayo Clinic staff
Is your plate piled high with deadlines and obligations that you're trying to squeeze in between meetings? Are you trying to cram too many activities into too little time? If so, stress relief can be as straightforward as just saying no.
Why say no?
The number of worthy requests isn't likely to lessen, and you can't add more available time to your day. Are you doomed then to be overcommitted? The answer is no, not if you're willing to say no. It may not be the easy way, but it is a path to stress relief.
Consider these reasons for saying no:
- Saying no isn't necessarily selfish. When you say no to a new commitment, you're honoring your existing obligations and ensuring that you'll be able to devote quality time to them.
- Saying no can allow you to try new things. Just because you've always helped plan the company softball tournament doesn't mean that you have to keep doing it forever. Saying no will give you time to pursue other interests.
- Always saying yes isn't healthy. When you're overcommitted and under too much stress, you're more likely to feel run-down and possibly get sick.
- Saying yes can cut others out. On the other hand, when you say no you open the door for others to step up. They may not do things exactly the way you would, but that's OK. They'll find their own way.
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- Charlesworth EA, et al. Stress Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Wellness. New York, N.Y.: Ballantine Books; 2004:238.
- Ury W. The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Dell; 2007:17.
- Stephens DC, et al. This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down. San Francisco, Calif.: Conari Press; 2007:62.