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Karen Maleck-Whiteley: Say ‘yes’ and nurture yourself

Live Well Stress Less

Posted: April 30, 2009 10:25 p.m.
Updated: May 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.

While I was writing last month's article about learning to say "no" more often, I had this thought: "If I am saying ‘no' to all of these things, then what am I saying ‘yes' to?" You may or may not have had the same thought. It made me think about how healthy it is when we actually, consciously say ‘yes' to what we choose to do.

Last month, I was mainly focused on encouraging us all to say "no" in order to help reduce our stress levels, to create much needed space in our calendars, to stop taking on things that we don't really want to do, and to enable ourselves to get the rest of our lives done in a more orderly and better fashion.

When we say "no" to some things in life, we leave room to consciously say "yes" to other things. We should be saying "yes" to things that:

n Are important priorities
n Are necessary to our well being and to the well being of those we care about.
n Further our goals and dreams
n Are congruent with who we are and fit with what we want to accomplish in the world

This kind of prioritization helps keep us sane and focused in the midst of the chaos of daily life. It does reduce stress and help us feel more in control. We feel better when we actually say "yes" to the activities we put on our calendars and know why we are doing them, instead of just handling each thing that comes along during the week. Many things we say "yes" to are things we enjoy or feel good about. Many won't be so fun. But we need to say "yes" to them anyway.

Things like difficult conversations, medical tests, tests in school, getting the car serviced, and cleaning the toilets are not my idea of fun, but I do have a different experience of them when I have chosen to say "yes" to them because they get me something I want or need. Doing what we do because we choose to is much more empowering than doing things because we "have to," "are required to" or "got assigned to."

We can learn to say "yes" to hard, unpleasant, or even scary things when we are clear that they are necessary for our livelihood, our health, or to get to some more important goal.

This month, I want us to also take the idea of saying "yes" to a different level. We need to specifically and pointedly saying "yes" to some things for ourselves - to say "yes" to us.

This notion is one of the keys to starting to LIVE WELL - which is, after all, the other half of the sub-title of all of these articles.

What I am talking about is different than clearing your calendar and working on the top priorities. It is the notion of choosing to say "yes" to some things simply because:

n They make us feel good
n They make us happy
n They connect to our inner child
n They nurture our soul
n They help us remember who we really are
n They celebrate life
n They are fun, crazy or exciting

Notice the difference between these two lists of what to say "yes" to? When we say "yes" to something because it fulfills one of the criteria from the second list, we are validating ourselves. We are acknowledging that we are important, that we deserve some of these moments in every day. We are giving ourselves something that we would wish for everyone we love, but which we often forgo for ourselves in the midst of all of those other necessary activities.

Karen Maleck-Whiteley is a certified hypnotherapist, coach, speaker, and author. She is also the co-owner of Balance Point Spa in Canyon Country, where people go every day to reduce their stress and live better. If you would like more information or assistance with learning to say "yes" more, you can contact her at (661) 252-0650, or e-mail,, ,, or www.Five4Me/ (free podcast downloads).


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