Every day, it seems, somebody wants our help. We may be approached by family, friends, school, the workplace or any number of organizations or interest groups. Many of us feel obligated to say “yes” straight away, often to our detriment. We can end up taking on too much work, or find ourselves getting involved with someone’s complex personal issues.
For our mental well-being, we need to be able to say “no” occasionally without guilt or regret. Here are some simple strategies that should make it easier to do so.
Just say no
The best and quickest way is a simple “no.” Don’t get bogged down explaining why you can’t do the task. If you say “I’d love to, but…” when you’d rather not, then extra pressure could be put on you to change your mind. There is nothing worse than having to undertake a task under duress. This can easily lead you to be anxious, stressed or even clinically depressed. Be aware of your abilities and set your limits accordingly.
No rash decisions
It’s always a good idea not to get rushed into making an immediate decision. Why not say, “Let me think about that, and I’ll get back to you.” This gives you time to make a careful and considered assessment of the request. If you do decide to go ahead and help, that’s fine. If you decide not to help, that’s also fine. You’ll need to make your choice very clear and final to the person or group concerned.
Don’t feel guilty