fence representing saying no to relax and reduce stress

Saying No

Take back control over your life and decide for yourself instead of being instrumentalized.


To regain control over your life and decisions ✊


The challenge of always having to please others, leading to a loss of control over personal decisions.

  • Neglecting own needs due to the inability to decline tasks or requests.
  • Feeling overwhelmed with the constant stream of demands and expectations.
  • Struggling with guilt or fear of confrontation when wanting to assert your own needs.


The art of saying no. It’s about setting boundaries and taking control of your life by deciding for yourself.

In a nutshell:

  1. Recognize when a request is being made.
  2. Take a moment: think about whether you want or are able to fulfill this request.
  3. Politely, yet firmly, decline if it does not align with your needs or goals.

My Take

Seeing people who’ve mastered saying no has always fascinated me. It’s impressive to experience their clear boundaries and ability to shield themselves from unnecessary work overload or uninvited responsibilities.

And surprisingly, when such people (coworkers, friends, etc.) declined a request, it never felt like a rejection. Instead, my emotional reaction made me wonder, is saying no more of a self-confrontation than an actual confrontation with others? 🤔

What I find interesting:

The act of saying “no” can be considered a mental and behavioral technique. While it involves the mindful awareness of your limits and the impact of saying “yes” to everything, it’s primarily a mental shift in perspective. It requires you to change your understanding of personal boundaries and prioritize your own needs. Additionally, it involves the behavior change of communicating these boundaries effectively to others. Hence, it’s a blend of mental adjustment, mindfulness, and behavior modification. Overall, a lot of potential for personal growth! 👌

Establishing personal boundaries can lead to higher self-esteem and lower stress levels. So, saying no isn’t just about denying a request; it’s about affirming your self-care, leading you to a more peaceful and centered mental space!

Overall, I think this method is underrated since it can have a massive impact.

My “journey” with saying no is still ongoing. It is a complementary approach to support all my other efforts (breathing, exercising, etc.). And it does an excellent job even though, well, it can be challenging for me as a polite guy 😉


  • More control over personal decisions.
  • Increased self-esteem.
  • Reduction of stress and guilt.


  • It may strain relationships initially.
  • Guilt or fear of confrontation may persist.
  • Potential misunderstanding by others due to a sudden behavior change.


As I said before, saying no can be tricky and challenging. What I find helpful: 

  • Starting small: I began by saying no to small requests that were relatively easy to decline. For example, when asked to do a non-essential task while I was already engaged, I started to say no.

Examples of how to say no:

  • I appreciate reaching out to me, but I won’t be able to take this on.
  • Thanks for the invite, but I have prior commitments.
  • I understand this is important, but I’m currently focusing on other priorities.
  • That sounds interesting, but I can’t commit to this now.
  • I’m sorry, but I don’t have the capacity for this right now.
  • I wish I could help, but I need to focus on my own work for now.
  • Unfortunately, I can’t assist with this. Perhaps there’s someone else who might be available.
  • Regrettably, I won’t be able to participate. I hope the event goes well, though.

Some more general thoughts:

  • Handling reactions: It can be tough initially when people react sort of negatively, but explaining my reasons helps. This proved crucial when, for instance, I had to decline an invitation for a casual meet-up due to a need for personal rest time.
  • Overcoming guilt: Self-reminders that it’s okay to prioritize myself became essential (especially when saying no to taking on extra work, which would have otherwise disrupted my situation).

Everyday situations where I am practicing saying no:

  • Unwanted tasks at work: A classic thing. When a colleague asks for help with a task, but I have no resources left.
  • Social events: When friends invite me for a night out, but I have planned a quiet night in.
  • Family obligations: When family members request favors that would suddenly intrude on my personal time (there are exceptions, though, especially regarding family).