Over many years of clinical practice I observed a very powerful word that many people had great difficulty saying. The word in question was NO!

Initially I kept asking myself, why do so many people have such difficulty in saying NO? The more I talked with colleagues about this fear around people saying NO, the more the answer became very clear.

For many people, they are fearful that they would not be seen as a ‘nice person’ by saying no.  Their personal fear could then lead to not being liked, which can lead to a feeling of rejection, and finally to a feeling of being abandoned.

Attending a seminar around this time about the common causes of people getting physically, mentally and emotionally sick, one speaker said the use of one very simple two letter word was a key to support many people to live a stress less life.

When the speaker revealed the magic word was NO! … there was a buzz in the room. He went on to say that he would coach clients to practice saying NO. If the person in question had difficulty in receiving the NO response, the speaker said you then asked the person a simple question.

“Which letter is it that you are having difficulty in understanding, is it the ‘N’ or is it the ‘O’?”

This exercise for some people is way too confronting, however, when a person’s health is in decline, sometimes they are prepared to take massive personal action to return to good health.

A couple of years ago at one of our Stress to Strength Experience Workshops, a wonderful very amiable man had a cathartic experience. When we were discussing what are your stress triggers, he leaped to his feet and yelled out, “I’m just a bloody doormat. I should have been named Don the Doormat”. He went onto share with those present that he could never remember saying NO in his entire life.

I have seen this man a number of times since that event and  he continues to share with me what a personal ‘stress buster’ it was to learn that saying NO can be such a healthy de-stressing experience.

Avoid phrases such as:  “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain”, and replace them with a simple response of YES or NO.

Recently, the outcome of a research study a study at the University of California, San Francisco reported …

“The more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression.”

A simple tool to practice for the next 37 days is to exercise your choice and say NO to a request if you really do not want to participate in the activity. Write a note in your diary or send yourself an email, a text or some other type of message. Record how much better you feel by saying no!!

Then on May 14 & 15 come and join us for two life changing days at the Stress to Strength Experience workshop in Brisbane and share with those present how good it feels to be a YES or NO person now. www.stresstostrength.com/experience

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