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Look in the mirror. Press the tip of your tongue up behind your teeth and make an ‘N’ sound. Then round your lips into an ‘O.’ Does this utterance sound and look familiar? Reviving this simple sequence of two sounds (“NO”) will give you great power: more free time, less stress and more focus.

We mastered the use of NO around age two and used it quite liberally up until we started going to school. NO became associated with all sorts of negative things, and then we began to use it less and less.

Take a look at your schedule. If you are overwhelmed, it’s probably because NO is a tough word to spit out. YES is so much easier to say – we get more smiles, more votes, less conflict and we please everyone for the moment, except ourselves.

I’m not saying to be a Negative Nellie. Just think first about what you agree to do for people. It’s just not worth the guilt and shame we pile on ourselves when we over commit.

Practice saying ‘no’ several times in the mirror (with a smile, if you must) or its relative phrases, “No, not now” or “No thank you, my plate is full” until it gets as comfortable as saying “Yes.”

Listening to ourselves is a valuable skill. Learn how. Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com

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