Saying No with Confidence

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It is true that some stress is caused by agreeing to do something that at that particular time you don’t have the capacity for. Someone else’s task has been delegated to you, which causes your stress levels to spike.


To learn to say no confidently, we have to first understand why we resist, some common reasons people find it hard to say no are:

Not wanting to let people down

Desire to conform

Fear of conflict

Fear of opportunities lost


It’s not always easy to determine which activities deserve your time and attention. The following strategies will help you to evaluate the obligations and opportunities presented to you:

Focus on the things that are most important to you

Weigh up the yes-stress ratio

Remove guilt from the situation – don’t agree to something if your gut instinct is to say no, especially if you are only agreeing due to feelings of guilt.


Avoid suffering from ‘yes-stress’ by learning effective ways in which to say no. Here are some lines to use to get you started:

‘I’m too busy to take on any more commitments at the moment’

‘I’m right in the middle of something at the moment, so how about we connect at X time?’


Saying yes often can add up quickly, and before you know it a big chunk of your time has been used up.

So have confidence in saying  ‘no’ where appropriate.





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Neil Shah, Chief De-stressing Officer, The Stress Management Society