Humans and Health

Why it’s Good to Say No

As a society we are constantly encouraged to say ‘yes’. Say yes to new opportunities, to challenging ourselves, to pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones. Growing up I hated saying ‘no’ to people, believing that I was letting both them and myself down in some way. This year, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to say no to things more often, and not to feel guilty about it.

At university we constantly work at 100 miles per hour. Our schedules are packed, our lifestyles fast-paced and at times, overwhelming. Not only are we expected to complete work for our degrees to a high standard, we also need work experience, societies, sports teams, a roaring social life, sleep… the list is endless. Taking on more responsibilities comes with growing up and becoming an adult. Being independent is a demanding task, and once we get on the hamster wheel of adulthood it can be almost impossible to get off.

“about prioritising the things that are important”

Social media has only added to these expectations. If you didn’t already feel like an inadequate human being, now you can watch other people’s successes displayed all over the internet. Social media is like seeing the tip of an iceberg, with all the dark and undesirable stuff hidden underneath. If student life is fast-paced, then social media is an even crazier whirlwind. Everyone has experienced FOMO at some point, and this fear of missing out can contribute towards anxiety and paranoia in some cases.

“learning when and how to say no is freeing”

Wanting to say yes is natural; we want to be liked, we don’t want to miss out. But saying yes to everything can be detrimental. Need an early night? Skip Ocean for once. Don’t have time to do a favour for a friend? Explain to them. Sometimes you have to be selfish. The pressure to present a shiny, new and improved, Instagram-worthy form of ourselves is exhausting. Nobody can constantly uphold that image, no matter how hard they try. It’s about prioritising the things that are important to us. It’s about knowing ourselves and our purpose. It’s about finding a balance. Our mental well-being will certainly thank us for it.

“watch other people’s successes displayed all over the internet”

I’m not saying that always saying no is the answer. It’s still important to be productive and put our best foot forward, but before you say yes to something, take a minute to consider – will this be beneficial? Will it make you happy? We rarely take the time to appreciate the things we do have, we are constantly striving for more. And yes, ambition is great, but living in the future and forgetting about the present is damaging. Sitting down with no distractions to reflect and relax is very important every once in a while.

There’s no doubt that saying no can be difficult, but learning when and how to say no is freeing. De-cluttering our lives and getting rid of the noise is key. Listen to your body, after all, you only get one.

Sophie Hunt

Article Used:

Featured image courtesy of  Henry Burrows via Flickr. No changes were made to this image. Image license found here.

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