Saying ‘no’ to keep happy and healthy at work
by Cary Cooper
How do we free up time at work to give us some space, thinking time, and better balance? First, you need to know what you are doing most of the time—so keep a diary for a week or two, recording all your activities during each hour of each day. Second, identify in this diary the priority meetings/activities and the ones that are not so important and have proved a waste of your valuable time. Third, make sure in the future that you don’t arrange meetings or activities that have proved not to be productive and are low on your priority list. Fourth, ensure that you begin to say “no” to things that are not a priority for you or your job, even though they may be flattering, or you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings by saying ‘no’. Unless you make tough decisions with your time, it will take its toll on your health and wellbeing. Gradually people around you will know which issues they can ask for your time, and which ones to avoid. Fifth, try to avoid people who take up too much of your emotional time, people who are persistently negative, where their glass is always half empty. As Mark Twain once wrote “keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can somehow become great”. And finally, it is also about the time you allocate to various activities in your working life. Meetings tend to go on too long and are not managed well, so ensure that you think through how much time you should allocate to your various priorities and stick to that timetable. By saying “no” more often, by managing your time better and by being with those people that are positive and stimulate you, you will have the space to reflect, to recuperate and to invest in the important relationships in your life.
Your thoughts are your perception
by Daniel David
Common sense psychology teaches us that life events can influence our feelings and behaviors. From a scientific point of view this is a false understanding of how human mind works. Indeed, according to rational-emotive and cognitive-behavior theory, our emotions and behaviors are not generated by life events, but by our interpretations of life events. We are not angry because our boss criticized us; we are angry because we interpret boss’ criticisms in a specific way.
Your emotions and behaviors are not generated by life events, but by your thinking. Feeling good and happy depends on your thinking; therefore say no to irrational thinking and say yes to rational thinking in order to feel, get, and stay good and healthy.
To help you implement the message of this article, I prescribe you a psychological pill:
1. Choose those life events that fit your desires and values and think about them rationally; in this way you will experience positive functional feelings;
2. If you are forced to face life events that do not fit you desires and values, think about them rationally; in this way you will experience negative functional feelings (e.g., annoyance rather than anger) that will help you deal efficiently with these adversities;
3. Remember that the core of psychological suffering is related to the three basic musts: I must do well, You must treat me well, Life must be fair; give them up and assume (4);
4. Assume unconditional acceptance and intense preferences to attain your goals, which are the core of rationality and of a happy life.
Illustration by Paul Davis, London, UK
Published in the hard-copy of Work Style Magazine, Fall 2011