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Why Taking On Too Much Is Bad For Your Mental Health

learn to say no adviceIt’s Ok To Say “No”

For so many of us, the word “No” is one of the hardest words to say. Why? It might be that we’re people pleasers. It might be that we’re afraid of confrontation, that saying no will cause conflict. It might be because we feel guilty, or we’re afraid of the ramifications. It could even be due to fear of rejection: if I don’t do this, people may not like me anymore. And often, it’s that feeling of responsibility: If I don’t do this, who will?

But what happens when we never say no?

Continually saying yes and prioritizing other people’s needs over our own can have more than one negative effect on our lives. The top four?

  1. We can become overwhelmed and lose focus. When that happens, work-life balance goes right out the window. It can be hard to decide what takes priority.
  2. We can be taken for granted or become enablers. If the people in our lives get used to us cleaning up their messes, or doing everything for them, they’ll start to expect it.
  3. We miss out on things that are important to us. If you’re always doing things for others, you may miss out on something really good for you.
  4. We ignore our own feelings. When you take everyone else’s thoughts, feelings, and views into consideration first, you invalidate yourself and your own.

How can you justify saying no?

It may make you feel selfish or guilty, but when you find yourself overloaded with obligations, it’s important to remember these four things:

  • You don’t owe anybody anything. Not your boss, not your spouse, not your parents.
  • You can’t control anybody’s opinion of you. You’ll be judged no matter what you do or say, so don’t let it bother you.
  • Only you know what will make you happy or satisfied. If you’re unsure or hesitant about doing something, don’t do it.
  • You really are number one – in that you are the person who will be affected most by the decisions you make in your life.

So practice saying no. And don’t apologize for it. Wipe the phrase “I’m sorry but …” from your repertoire. You can be pleasant without being apologetic about taking care of yourself.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious or that you’re turning to substances to relive stress — it may be helpful to talk to a counselor.  We have locations throughout Western New York and can help with mental health and substance use disorders.  We also offer private counseling.  Give us a call today at (716) 831-1800.