We are always told to open ourselves up more and say yes to opportunities, to push ourselves out of our boundaries. There are even films based on the whole idea of saying ‘yes’. It’s true we should push ourselves out of our comfort zones at times to experience new things and challenge ourselves.

But what we don’t consider enough is using the term ‘no’ more often.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation wondering why on earth you’ve agreed to something, simply because you didn’t want to say no to someone? We’ve all agreed to do something that has made us uncomfortable or has been an inconvenience to us, just to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or feeling like we are being awkward.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of saying yes to please others. But in the process of doing this we often find ourselves in situations we don’t want to be in or make us unhappy.

The benefits of saying no

Establishing boundaries and being comfortable with saying no has a wealth of benefits:

  • People will learn what you are and aren’t okay with and adjust their expectations
  • Developing independence
  • Giving yourself a greater sense of self esteem
  • Improving your mental wellbeing

How to say no

It’s easy enough to tell yourself to say no. But it’s another thing putting this into action. These simple steps can help you to be confident in your choices and setting boundaries:

  1. Give yourself permission

The first step is acknowledging that it is healthy to set boundaries and necessary for our mental wellbeing. Allow yourself to put yourself first and do what is right for you.

2.Communicate your reasons

Consider your reasons why you don’t want to do something and then communicate this to the person you are saying no to. This allows people to understand your boundaries and will help you to feel less like you are being awkward for not saying yes.

3. Stick to your decision

If you go back on your decision out of guilt or pressure, people will learn to ignore your boundaries in future. Once you have made your decision, be sure to stick to your reasoning. This may be difficult the first time, but it will make it much simpler in future.

When saying no is necessary

Most of us will know when we feel uncomfortable agreeing to something. But saying no is absolutely necessary when there is any feelings of the following:

  • Doing something out of pressure or guilt
  • When you are already overwhelmed or stressed with what you have on
  • When you know it will have a negative impact on your mental health

Saying no isn’t selfish, it’s self-care. It is important for our mental and physical wellbeing to start using the term more often. Setting boundaries is a valuable skill in life that can improve mental health and even the relationships we have with people.

Now is the time to start setting boundaries in your personal and work life, to practice self-care and protect your wellbeing.