Traverse City Record-Eagle

Feature Columnists

October 5, 2013

Mental Wellness: Just say 'No'

Recently we totally bailed on some friends. We were supposed to go to a music festival, but then the morning of the festival, we cancelled. It’s unlike me to do this, but my wife and I looked at one another and both admitted that we didn’t want to go, we were exhausted and wanted a weekend home.

In previous generations, families had Sunday dinner together and went for a drive. Somehow, as technology and innovation has made life easier, we’ve decided to be more productive, rather than enjoy it. Sometimes, when we say “no” to one thing, we’re actually saying “yes” to something else.

Realize your own internal pressure

We each put our own pressure on ourselves to be the best (insert life role here). Whether it is being the best mom, father, worker, son, daughter, or something else, our own pressure is always the loudest voice. It never goes away. Once we realize that, freedom gets a bit closer.

No equals yes

Sometimes the pressure to say, “yes” is more for others’ approval, than for our own satisfaction. When we are able to say “no” to a specific task or opportunity we are saying “yes” to a variety of other things like more time with family, friends, alone, or just better mental health. It’s easier to set those boundaries when we know we are opening other doors at the same time.

It’s Your Life

We often forget that our lives are just a series of decisions, experiences and opportunities. A lifetime of saying “yes” to the things we don’t care about leads to a lifetime of things we don’t care about, it’s that simple. Taking time to set clear goals regarding career, family, friends, and who we are as a person is what leads to fulfillment.

Whether it is disappointing friends when you need to stay home for a weekend or setting boundaries with your time at work, saying “no” can be the biggest “yes” you can give.

Joseph R. Sanok is a licensed counselor who works with executives, business owners, and individuals to set clear goals and priorities in their lives and businesses at Mental Wellness Counseling in Traverse City.


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