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Saying NO To Be Able To Enthusiastically Say YES in 2019

By eM Life Teacher Ninette Hupp

The beginning of the year is a time to reflect on what we want to do more and less of in the new year. We often forget that making time for the things we want to do requires saying “No” to the things we don’t want to do. This is challenging because we are continuously bombarded with requests and struggle to say “No” to them. Suddenly our calendars are full of commitments that aren’t personally fulfilling to us.

So why do we let this happen? Maybe it’s wanting to avoid conflict, feeling obligated, having FOMO (fear of missing out) and wanting to please others. The overarching theme is that we forget that our well-being, interests and goals matter! We are human beings with limited resources. As the brilliant poet Mary Oliver says, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Our mindfulness practice is a wonderful way to inquire and stay connected to what our own vision, priorities, adventures, needs and wants are in this moment.

Here are three practices you can explore anytime your think saying ‘thank you, but no thank you’ is the ideal route to take:

1. MINDFULLY PAUSING

We live in a world where we often feel the need to act or respond immediately. Implementing the practice of pausing before responding to requests is a fabulous way to create the space to check in with ourselves and our intuition. Do I really want to do this or is it best to save my resources for something that matters more to me personally? 

2. KINDNESS & COMPASSION

The mind naturally judges, and often this judgement is directed at ourselves. “Seriously, like you’re going to say no to them … You are a bad person for not agreeing to that … How selfish that you want to think of your needs first…” The mind states its opinions over and over, disguised as facts. So how do we choose a different voice, one that is more open-minded, understanding and supportive? In this practice we send kindness and compassion to ourselves. What sentiments would be beneficial as we develop the ability to say “No”? It’s beneficial to repeat these well wishes to ourselves over days, weeks, months … as gentle reminders of our purpose and intentions. Some examples could be:

• “May I listen to and trust my intuition.”

• “May I honor myself, my well-being and priorities.”

• “May I freely choose how to spend my limited resources.”

• “May I let go of trying to make everyone happy.”

• “May I experience joy, purpose and fulfillment in my life.”

3. STOP (Stop, Take a breath, Observe, Proceed), a Practice for Checking in.

  • S – Giving ourselves permission to STOP doing, taking a break to simply be in this moment as it is
  • TTaking a breath, or as many as time allows, to allow the body to re-regulate itself
  • O Observing what the body feels like, what the mind is focusing on, what emotions are present and any urges we have (maybe to respond, to act, to avoid, to escape…)
  • P – Having taken the time and attention to tune in to ourselves, we are better equipped to mindfully choose how to proceed in a manner that will best serve our priorities, values, wants and needs

Learn how to check-in with yourself, no matter the approach takes practice.

At eM Life we have a community of instructors and participants who engage in various mindfulness practices with a shared purpose. We help participants learn how they can become more in tune with their own bodies, minds, thoughts and feelings. Through eM Life you have access to skills that teach you how to pause, check-in with yourself and consider what is best for you in that moment. Learn how saying ‘no thank you’ is ok and maybe even the best route to take in certain situations.   We look forward to supporting and celebrating your journey to enthusiastically saying “YES!” to what matters most to you in 2019. Cheers!

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About the author

Ninette (LSW, LMSW), has served as mindfulness teacher with eMindful for four years. With years of training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and other mind/body interventions for high-stress environments, nervous system regulation and behavioral development she brings a passion for making a difference and a playful, compassionate spirit to her work. Over the past eight years, both online and in-person, she has shared stress management tools and mindfulness-based interventions in a variety of roles and contexts — corporations, healthcare, academia, retreats, group and individual work.


Also published on Medium.