How to Say No and Let Go of Stress

It was one of the first words you learned to say and you used it at every opportunity. Until someone convinced you that you couldn't, or shouldn't.

Others don't like to hear you say no. Parents/teachers/friends/employers/significant others and even strangers will do whatever they think it takes to get you to do what they want you to do instead of what you want to do.

Why should you? So they'll be happy instead of you? They get to live their life, shouldn't you get to choose how to live yours?

I know, they sound so convincing when they tell you they're counting on you, they need your help, it's your responsibility, if you loved them you'd?

And they'll keep sounding convincing as long as you let them! Okay, maybe they've convinced you that what they want you to do is for your own good. That's not the point. If you're at least 18, you're old enough to decide what you want to do and what you don't. Will you make mistakes? Of course. Everybody does. That's part of life.

So how can you say "no" without feeling guilty? If they want you to go into a career you don't want to go into, marry someone you don't like, have children or not, find a close friend, a school counselor or a therapist to help you realize it's your choice and not theirs.

If they complain that you don't visit often enough, do what you can and look for ways to let them know you're thinking about them in between visits.

Bosses are notorious for asking their employees to do things they don't want to do. They're probably paying you do to some of those things but the trend is to have fewer employees and work them harder and they'll keep pushing until you (kindly but firmly) let them know you've reached your limit. If it doesn't seem appropriate to say no when you're asked to take on one more project, tell the asker you'll see how you can fit that in. Then make a list of your current projects, tasks involved and deadlines, and ask which of these tasks you should set aside till you complete the new task. If your boss can't or won't honor your limits you probably need to say "no" by finding another job.

Spouses, friends and children all (rightly) feel they have certain claim to your time and attention and so the key is to get very clear about what you can and cannot do. On the one hand, you don't want to say "no" to every request. On the other hand, you can't say yes to all of them because it's important that when you do say yes, you deliver.

If you're not certain whether you can say yes, buy yourself some time. If you can't decide on the spot, say that. Say you need time to think about it and tell them when they can expect an answer.

Begin to notice how your body feels when someone asks you to do something. If it tightens up just hearing the request, it's trying to tell you something. Chances are very good that if you go ahead and say yes you'll regret it, your body will create a host of unhappy chemistry that is harmful to your immune system and that chemistry will be present while you're doing what you didn't want to do.

I know how important it is to say no because I learned the hard way. Even before Oprah named it, I had it ? the disease to please. The only person I was really good at saying no to was myself.

Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. When the surgeon said she hadn't gotten clean margins and she needed to do a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, I noticed the way my body felt and after much research and introspection, I said no. I went to a naturopath instead.

You don't have to have breast cancer (other cancer, stroke, heart attack, etc.) to learn what I learned. Practice saying "no" when you mean it and live your own life.

Karin Ireland, author of the award-winning Learning to Trust Myself: Lessons From Cancer and Other Life Dilemmas and 10 Practices That Will Bring You Peace, Confidence and Success: The Workbook is a popular speaker, workshop leader, and personal coach. Visit her at http://www.IrelandCommunications.com

In The News:

Managing pandemic stress  centraljersey.com
3 relaxation exercises to decrease stress  The Philadelphia Inquirer
No stress!  The News International
Still Determined: Mending Minds of Color  Charlottesville Tomorrow
Be your own heart advocate  Alton Telegraph
Stress Management for Nurses  www.oncnursingnews.com/
5 Ways to Manage Stress During the Coronavirus Outbreak  Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Eldercare/Caregiving Stress--Managing Holidays

Caring for a chronically ill loved one can be one... Read More

Quiet Mind; A Powerful Tool That Gives You More Time, Creativity, And Productivity And Takes Just 10

The National Center for health statistics reported that in 1997,... Read More

HELP! Im Working with a Baby!!

Did you know that more than half of our adult... Read More

Dynamic Guide - How to Recharge Your Mind With A Refreshing Recreational Activity!

Let's face it! The majority of our time is either... Read More

Stress Causing People to ?Super Size?

... Read More

Stress Management: Are You a Diamond or a Lump of Coal?

"Do you want to be a lump of coal or... Read More

Conflict Resolution ... What The Heck Are You Thinking?

Do you get frustrated with your spouse, your kids, your... Read More

Stress Management: The Power of Expectancy

On a beautiful summer day years ago, I went water... Read More

Stress Busting Strategies

Learn to have healthy relationships:This subject could fill an entire... Read More

Stress Managment and Mastery: Learning to Rebound

Q. I've suffered a few setbacks and disappointments in the... Read More

The Power of Five

Do you ever fret? In today's materialistic age, sometimes fretting... Read More

Stress Relief for Busy Business People - 11 Easy Ways

Make stress less of an issue for you in your... Read More

12 Proven Ways To Relieve Stress Today!

Do you feel that you just don't have the time... Read More

How To Recognize Stress And Its Effects Before It Takes You Over

Stress affects different people in different ways, but affect them... Read More

Putting Your Life in Perspective

Do you often overreact to situations? Are you a constant... Read More

Minimizing Stress

Understanding StressStress has been called "the invisible disease". It is... Read More

Put the 80/20 Rule to Work for Your Life!

Perhaps you've heard of the 80/20 rule, but don't know... Read More

5 Steps to Make Stress Your Best Friend

You probably think I'm wacko, but it's true - stress... Read More

7 Tips to Help You De-stress & Handle Your Problems

Life would be so wonderful if it weren't for other... Read More

How to Recognize Stress Before it Turns Into Anger

After a stressful day as a computer programmer, Jim pulled... Read More

Journal Your Stress Away

Writing down our thoughts and feelings, as in keeping a... Read More

The Best Stress Relief and Its Free!

"Let your mind be quiet, realizing the beauty of the... Read More

Overwhelm: Love It or Leave It!

Amazing thing, overwhelm!You don't usually see it coming. It just... Read More

Stress Management: How to Handle Rejection - The Power of NEXT

Raise your hand if you have ever been rejected by... Read More

10 Symptoms of Workplace Stress

It is no secret that stress and related disorders are... Read More