It’s 3:00pm on a Friday. Your boss asks to put yet another task on your already-loaded to-do list. What do you say?
If you’re like most of us, it’s something like, “Uh, ok.”
Maybe it’s not an enthusiastic yes, but it’s far from a no.
We often say yes because we’re afraid of the consequences of saying no. In this example, we’re afraid of being fired or passed up for a promotion. When it comes to relationships, we may say yes when we really want to say no because we want others to like us.
But all these reluctant “yesses” take their toll. It’s time to put an end to them once and for all. Here are 6 reasons why it’s often healthier to say no instead of yes.
You may be less stressed
If saying yes to an opportunity will cause you more stress than benefit, it’s definitely healthier to say no. You’ll be a lot healthier when you cut unnecessary stress from your life.
You’ll be happier
We’ve all made the mistake of saying yes to something we really didn’t want to do. A neighbor is going out of town and wants you to watch her unruly dog. Ugh. That’s the last thing you want to do, but she is a neighbor, so you say yes. You watch the dog and you’re miserable the entire time. You end up resenting her for it, and your relationship struggles as a result. What would happen if you had said no instead? Your relationship probably would end up in the same place, but you’d avoid a week of misery.
You’ll have more time
Saying yes isn’t the holy grail we think it is. When you say yes to your boss and take on that new task when you’re already overloaded, you’re spreading yourself thin. How do you explain it when things fall through the cracks. You can’t say you were overextended because you willingly took on more work. Your boss simply asked you a question and you had a choice. It’s not her fault you made the wrong choice. When you start saying no to things like this, you can have more time to focus on the important tasks in front of you.
You’ll be more in-tune with yourself
When you practice saying no, you’ll get better at determining which thing are necessary and which are not. It’s not always clear, and sometimes the choice is very personal. If you’re invited to a networking event that you don’t want to attend, do you go? This is a case where you have to weigh the benefits with the drawbacks and decide how important this event is to your goals.
You’ll be open to new opportunities
When you’re always saying yes, you’re likely to be overextending yourself. Someone asks you for a favor. You don’t really feel like doing it, and it doesn’t benefit you in any way. But while you’re doing this favor, another friend calls to tell you they have tickets to a concert that night. You can’t go because you’ve already promised your time away. Sometimes, saying no to things you don’t want leaves you open to doing things you will want.
You may be healthier
Sometimes, the things we want aren’t the things we need. Imagine you’re at a party and someone is trying to push off the last piece of cake on you. You want it, but you don’t need it. You know that saying no is the healthy choice here. The same holds true for drugs and alcohol. If someone offers you Xanax when you’re feeling stressed, you should know it’s not the healthiest choice. It’s dangerous to take pills that haven’t been prescribed to you. And if you found yourself saying yes to things like this too often, know that help is available. It’s never too late to start saying no.
It’s not always healthy to say no instead of yes, but it’s a practice worth trying. Eventually, you’ll strike the right balance for your own health and happiness.