Are you a person who likes to help others? Do you say yes to all good causes? Do you say yes to friends asking favors? Do you say yes to colleagues’ requests? It can become too much. Maybe you should stop saying yes.

Of course, we want to be nice and to be liked. Unfortunately, we spend so much time doing things for others, at work and at home, that we forget we need some time for ourselves.

Learning to say no is an important part of simplifying your life and managing your stress. When you say no to a new commitment, you’re honoring your existing obligations and ensuring that you’ll be able to devote high-quality time to your efforts. It gives you time for focusing on what you do best, and taking the time to do it right, and will help you minimize stress.

Don’t say yes if it will add stress to your life.

Saying “yes” all of the time will exhaust you. Saying “yes” may avoid an awkward moment, but over time you could become angry, resentful, over-extended, and even more stressed because you feel like people are taking advantage of you.

Practice simply saying no and offering a brief reason. Be honest. Try not to say phrases such as, “I’m not sure’ or “I’ll get back to you” because they will keep coming back. The sooner you say no, the better for you, and the better for them, giving them time to find someone else.

You could also consider offering an alternative, instead of heading up the committee, offer to bring snacks to the meetings, or cut them a check instead.

It may seem easier to say yes, but in the long run you will realize that what you have lost is control of your life and that can cause a lot of stress. If your answer is always “yes,” then your choices are not yours, they are forced upon you by others. It is a great trait to be helpful, however, it is also wise to not make commitments we might not be able to keep.

If you and your coworkers are suffering from significant stress, contact me at and I will deliver a presentation packed with dozens of stress management strategies.

If you need to find a keynote speaker, plenary speaker, breakout speaker, concurrent session speaker, seminar leader, or workshop facilitator who can deliver in-person, virtually, or via prerecorded session, Kit Welchlin, M.A., CSP, CVP, is a nationally recognized professional motivational speaker and author and can be found at or