If you want to be a happier person, stop saying “yes” to these 10 things

Ever feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders?

Well, life can get super busy and before you know it, your joy meter is running on empty.

But hey, what if I told you there’s a sneaky little secret to being happier?

And no, it doesn’t involve maxing out your credit card or scaling Mount Everest.

Believe it or not, it’s about learning to say “no” more often.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – we’re always told to say “yes”. Yes to more tasks, yes to helping out, yes to that extra slice of cake (okay, maybe that one isn’t so bad).

But here’s the kicker – sometimes saying “yes” too much can leave us feeling drained and far from happy.

So, let’s dive into ten things you need to start saying “no” to for a happier life.

By embracing the power of “no”, you’ll free up precious time for what truly lights up your day.

1. Unrealistic Demands

First on our list – saying “no” to unrealistic demands.

Now, don’t get me wrong. A bit of challenge is good; it keeps us on our toes and helps us grow.

But when your to-do list starts looking like a novel, that’s when you need to hit the brakes.

Many of us are people-pleasers.

We hate the thought of letting someone down, so we keep piling on responsibilities until we’re swamped.

Sound familiar? The truth is, it’s okay to say “no” when you’re already juggling enough.

Remember, your time and energy are valuable too.

So next time someone asks you for a favor when you’re already stretched thin, muster up the courage and say “no”.

It’s not about being selfish; it’s about respecting your own limits and protecting your happiness.

2. Negative Influences

We all have those people in our lives who just seem to suck the joy out of everything, don’t we?

Whether it’s the constant complainer, the serial pessimist, or the drama king/queen, these people can drain your energy and dampen your mood.

Now, I’m not saying you should shun these people completely. But it’s crucial to limit your exposure to their negativity.

You see, emotions are contagious, and spending too much time with downers can start to bring you down too.

So, how about saying “no” to hanging out with them all the time?

Instead, surround yourself with positive, uplifting people who inspire you and make you feel good about yourself.

3. Overworking

Now, this one hits close to home. There was a time when my life was all work and no play. I thought working longer hours would get me further up the career ladder faster. But boy, was I wrong!

I’d come home exhausted every day, with no energy left to enjoy my evenings.

My relationships started suffering, and I felt like a hamster stuck on a wheel.

It was only when I took a step back and looked at the bigger picture that I realized my mistake.

Work is important, sure, but so is rest and recreation. Overworking doesn’t lead to success; it leads to burnout. And let me tell you, burnout is no fun at all.

So now, I make it a point to say “no” when work starts encroaching on my personal time. It might be hard at first, especially if you’re used to being the ‘yes’ person at work.

But trust me, your mind (and your body) will thank you for it.

4. Perfectionism

Striving for perfection might seem like a noble pursuit, but in reality, it can seriously hamper your happiness.

Perfectionism can lead to anxiety, stress, and even depression.

It sets an unrealistic standard that’s almost impossible to meet, leaving you feeling constantly unsatisfied and unhappy with your efforts.

Successful people understand that making mistakes is part of the learning process and that it’s okay to be imperfect.

So next time you find yourself obsessing over every little detail, remember that done is better than perfect.

Let go of your need to have everything just right and embrace the beauty of imperfection.

5. Ignoring Your Needs

Fifth on our list, it’s time to say “no” to ignoring your own needs. We often get so caught up in taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves.

How many times have you skipped a meal because someone else needed your help?

Or missed out on sleep because you were too busy solving someone else’s problems?

If you’re nodding right now, know that you’re not alone.

But here’s the hard truth, folks: constantly putting others before yourself isn’t just exhausting; it’s detrimental to your happiness. You can’t pour from an empty cup, after all.

It’s not selfish to take care of yourself first or to prioritize your needs. It’s necessary. It’s okay to say “no” when you’re feeling overwhelmed, tired, or just need some ‘me’ time.

6. Living in the Past

I’ll be honest, for a long time, I was guilty of this one.

I used to spend hours dwelling on things that had happened – the mistakes I’d made, the opportunities I’d missed, the paths I hadn’t taken.

It was like a movie constantly playing in my head, and it was sucking the joy out of my present.

Then one day, I realized something crucial – no amount of regret or sorrow could change what had happened.

Living in the past was not only futile, but it was also keeping me from enjoying my present and building my future.

So now, whenever I catch myself slipping into the past, I consciously steer my thoughts back to the present.

It’s not always easy, but it’s crucial for my happiness.

Remember, the past is a place of reference, not residence. Learn from it but live in the now.

Say “no” to dwelling on what’s gone and “yes” to embracing what’s ahead. Your happiness lies in the present moment – don’t let it slip away. 

7. Comparing Yourself to Others

Let’s be brutally honest here, we’ve all done it.

Scrolling through social media, seeing everyone’s highlight reels while we’re sitting in our sweatpants, feeling like we’re not measuring up.

But here’s the kicker – it’s all a mirage. No one’s life is as perfect as it looks on Instagram. Everyone has their struggles and challenges; they just don’t post them for the world to see.

Comparing your life to someone else’s online persona is like comparing apples and oranges. It’s not just unfair to you; it’s downright destructive.

It can make you feel inadequate and unhappy, and let’s be honest, who needs that?

So next time you find yourself falling into the comparison trap, take a step back. Remind yourself that you’re on your own unique journey, and that’s okay.

8. Ignoring Your Health

Eighth on our list, it’s time to say “no” to ignoring your health. Yes, we’re all busy. Yes, we all have a million things to do. But that doesn’t mean we should neglect our health.

An unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, inadequate sleep – these are all common habits that can seriously impact our physical and mental well-being.

And when you’re not feeling your best physically, it’s hard to be happy.

Regular exercise can boost your mood and make you feel good. 

It doesn’t have to be anything rigorous – even a simple walk in the park can do wonders for your emotional health.

So next time you’re tempted to skip that workout or reach for that junk food, take a moment to consider the impact on your happiness. Instead, say “yes” to healthy habits and “no” to neglecting your health.

Remember, your body is your temple. Treat it well, and it will reward you with not just better physical health but also a happier state of mind!

9. Ignoring Your Passions

I’ll share something personal here. Growing up, I loved painting. But as life got busier, my paintbrushes started gathering dust.

Work, responsibilities, chores – they all seemed more important than pursuing my passion.

But deep down, I missed it. I missed the joy of creating something beautiful, of losing myself in colors and textures.

One day, I decided to pick up my brushes again. And let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions of my life!

Engaging in what you love rejuvenates your soul and brings immense happiness. It’s not just about the activity itself; it’s about honoring a part of yourself that brings you joy.

So if there’s something you love doing but have been ignoring, it’s time to say “no” to excuses and “yes” to your passion.

Make time for it, even if it’s just a few minutes a day.

10. Saying “Yes” When You Want to Say “No”

Last, but definitely not least, we need to stop saying “yes” when we actually want to say “no”. I know, it sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how often we do this.

Whether it’s out of fear of disappointing someone, or because we don’t want to seem rude, we often agree to things that we don’t want to.

But here’s the raw truth – every time you say “yes” when you want to say “no”, you’re doing a disservice to yourself.

Your time, your energy, your happiness – they’re all precious. Don’t squander them on things that don’t bring you joy or value. Learn to say “no” without guilt or explanation.

Remember, you are not obligated to say “yes” to everything. It’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. So start saying “no” more often.

It might feel uncomfortable at first, but trust me, it’s one of the most liberating things you can do for your happiness!

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Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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