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Tips for Saying NO instead of YES
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, October 2014

Why is it so difficult to say the word "no" instead of "yes?" This is a challenge many of us face daily. We're asked to join a committee or spearhead a new project, and although we already feel we have little-to-no time for those activities which energize us, we sometimes relent and accommodate. Afterwards, we notice that we can feel overwhelmed, frustrated, guilty, or resentful. And all because we did not listen to our inner voice which may have been cautioning us against saying yes, but we either did not hear it or chose not to listen.

Saying no doesn't mean that we are being rude, selfish, or unkind. (Well, it may; it depends on how we say it!)

Each of us has our own issues related to why we have a tough time saying "No." And truthfully, if we don't learn to say (and mean) "No", we use our energy in ways that can contribute to our unhappiness.

Try these simple yet effective tips for saying "No" as a way of taking care of yourself:

Be direct, such as, "No, that doesn't work for me."

Be polite, such as, "Thanks for asking. As interesting as it sounds, I am going to decline."

Avoid offering all sorts of reasons why you cannot accommodate.

Remember that it is better to say "No" than to say "Yes" and be angry or resentful.

If you feel momentarily trapped, take a breath and say, "That is interesting. It is nice that you thought of me. I need to think about it."

If you don't feel trapped, get to "No" sooner than later or you will just be adding to your stress.

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