Stress Management and Mastery: The Value of Vitamin NO

What part of no don't you understand? - Bumper sticker

The child that never hears no will have a hard time saying no. - Della Reese in "Touched by an Angel"

Have you ever noticed how some of the most powerful things in life are also the most simple?

So it is with the simply powerful word ``NO.''

I've come to believe that one of the keys to success is the ability to say no when no is the best thing to say.

Let's take a look at when to say no, and then more importantly, how to say NO effectively.

When to say no

To others - Although it may be unintentional, people's opinions can be potential dream stealers. If you have a dream and are convinced of its value in your life, ignore those that say you cannot do it. Pursue your dream, because that's where passion and life can be found.

To temptation - Have you ever noticed how temptation doesn't hang around long when you firmly say no? Temptation needs an invitation to stay around.

To yourself - Everyone I have ever known, including myself, is excellent at the mind-bending trick called rationalization. We can twist our thoughts around so much that we convince ourselves of just about anything. But check out the word ``rationalize.'' In this case what it really means is to convince yourself of rational lies.

To the culture - Mary Pipher, author of "The Shelter of Each Other, Rebuilding Our Families" says:

"If we fail as a family to fight the culture in our society, we end up fat, addicted and broke with a house full of junk we don't need."

Decide how you want you and yours to be, and resist cultural pressure.

To stress and reactivity - Here's a riddle for you: What do a TV, a human being and a VCR have in common? Answer: All three have a pause button. But I'm convinced we use ours less than TVs and VCRs.

Instead of reacting to the stress in your life, hit the pause button long enough to consider how you would like to respond instead of react.

To our children - Della Reese said it best in the quote above: The child who never hears no will not be able to say no. Furthermore, children who never hear no won't understand or respect no when they are adults, which can lead to all sorts of difficulties.

How to say no

Here's a few tips on learning the how of saying no:

Give yourself permission to say no. You are a big person now and have the right to say no. (You always had it anyway.)

Decide you are gong to say no, and then as my dad always said, ``Stick to your guns.''

Say it! It really can be that simple.

If people have a difficult time hearing or accepting your no, remember that is their problem, not yours. Use the old broken-record technique: "I understand what you are saying, and the answer is still no." Repeat as much as necessary.

Practice saying no to work out your no muscles.

Pay attention to how the world doesn't end, and how all your friends and family don't disown you for saying no.

When you are able to say no - when no is the best thing to say - you'll find your world less cluttered and your life less chaotic.

Just one more thought:

It's only when you can say NO that your YES has any real value.

Visit for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

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