Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Anxious? Stressed? I think we all have. The best way to keep these feelings from returning over and over is to learn to say NO when necessary. Learn to set healthy boundaries and follow them religiously. How do you define the boundaries in your life that cause the most stress?Easy. Take from those times when you know you don’t feel peace. I have come up with my top 3 areas that I feel fully encompass most parts of my life, that setting proper boundaries in them will truly increase my personal quality of life.

1) People. Whether family, friends, lovers, or children, we need to stop excusing people’s burdens as our own. When someone crosses the line and starts to make their problem yours, then you need to throw up a red flag & step back, evaluate, and probably learn to say NO.

This does not mean that you never help a loved one, this simply means that there are certain times when someone continues to burden your life and your time, and you need to put an end to it in order to have peace in your life. I once had someone in my life who was a great friend and workout partner. The problem was.. it grew to take up most of my day every day. It would start with a workout and turn into lunch, then ‘chat’ time, etc. It became where she was offended if I didn’t talk to her one day, or if I couldn’t work out that day etc., so I had to just say NO altogether and end it. Whew, peace and freedom came and I realized how much I had been saying YES when I couldn’t or didn’t even want to.

I have a family member who is absolutely unable to have peace in her life. She lives in chaos and after decades of this, I think can only survive when there is chaos. This means that she will produce it where it doesn’t exist. This is exhausting for my personality. I am all about calm, peace, & quiet the majority of the time. When she gets near me, I have to consciously work at keeping my peace. Even calls & texts have to be monitored because I will feel my anxiety rising with both. I finally got to the point where I absolutely refused to answer a call from her. Is this mean? Absolutely not. She only calls when she wants something, and I have given and given and given so I am good! I don’t need any more validation. This is another adult, perfectly capable of caring for herself. It was time I said NO to her, and definitely gave me more peace again.

Work situations can even benefit from learning to say NO. I had another friend who was pressured into many extra-curricular work situations and never learned to say NO. Because he didn’t learn this, many things in his personal life suffered, and got to the point where a choice needed to be made. Learn to say NO to one or the other, and that’s the end of the other! Maybe we could avoid some problems from ever occurring if we just learn a balance. A balance, I have found, is only possible if you learn to say NO to people.

2) Health. Health is important to me. I grew up with a mom who taught me to eat healthy and take care of myself. We were allowed sweets & yummy items, but always in moderation and learned control & discipline. Learning to say NO was taught to me from day one, so it wasn’t a big issue in life. I still had a period where I needed to learn my body, and how it worked best, but saying NO was something I knew how to do, and knew it was necessary to stay healthy.

We have a nation filled with unhealthy, overweight people who clearly can’t JUST SAY NO. When faced with our grocery store, processed, fast food environment, it is crucial to learn to say NO in order to have a high quality of life. When I visit a nursing home, it is clear to see the effects of an unhealthy life. Our healthcare system has yet to see the compounded effects of a generation completely reared on processed food, it’ll be catastrophic.

If you haven’t already started to teach your kids, do so. It’ll be one of the best lessons they learn….saying NO! Of course, this applies in all areas of life, but food and nutrition are vital. There is unhealthy food offered all over the place in our children’s worlds. School, parties, sleepovers, sporting events,etc. It is incredibly hard to feed kids healthy unless you are constantly packing food wherever they are going. This isn’t ALWAYS possible, but it is a good practice to get into.

If you already are past being healthy, just start with one thing. Start with one item, and say NO. Cut out sodas, after dinner snacks, ice cream, French fries, potato chips, anything that causes you a problem. Learn to say NO, one thing at a time. It will lead to positive, long-term health, and make you have a higher quality of life!

3) Time. Our time is so valuable, yet we throw it away as if it’s not. I have become so much better at time management as I’ve gotten older, because I realize how precious time is and what I enjoy doing with my time the most!

One of my time zappers is driving. We live in a world where we sometimes drive and drive and drive. Our little geographic circles seem to be a lot bigger than they used to. While I don’t mind driving some, I hate wasting hours on the road just going back and forth, covering the same or very close to the same path. Because of my proximity to my daughters school, I had to learn to use my driving time better. When I’m in a certain area, I need to get all my errands done that are near, etc. This takes effort to plan accordingly, and it also takes effort to learn to say NO. If something comes up that doesn’t fit into this schedule, it is important to say NO and make it fit on another day, etc.

I have a friend who hasn’t learned to do this yet. She is awful in fact, and literally will spend hours and gas money just driving around going back and forth endlessly. I refuse to drive with her because it will inevitably frustrate me. Just to witness her lack of time management makes me irritable!

In today’s world, I wonder how so many people can spend the amount of time that they do on all the social media that’s available. When I do just a small amount, I feel like an hour will fly by so quickly, and then it’s gone! What then? I watch my child’s time very closely. If she is on her phone too long, or spending too much time on something un-constructive, I stop her and make her adjust. Teaching her time management at a young age, and also teaching her to say NO to activities that aren’t useful!

I had a friend whose son needed a summer job, so he applied at the sea wall dock company that is one of the largest in our state. Right now, times are good and the money is flowing. The brothers that inherited the company are living the good life. But from this one experience, I learned how ridiculously unorganized this large, profitable company is, and have to reflect on how much better it could be if they were even just a little bit in sync. They have crews going to same areas, and driving all over several counties with literally no order at all. One crew will drive to a job that has a crew working a mile away, only to finish in an hour and drive two to another job that takes the afternoon and the next morning. It was an eye opener, and makes you realize how people do not value time (and money) so often.

We only have a set amount of time, and then it’s gone. Obviously some people have their time cut short by sad events and made their previous time even more valuable. Learn how to say NO when your time Is involved, understand that time shouldn’t be wasted.

I think if we learn to say NO in these 3 areas, they will affect our entire lives…for the positive. Don’t be afraid to start with learning to say NO today.

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