Saying No To Distress
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Saying No To Distress

Learning to say no, for your health.

Saying No To Distress

Most of us that grew up in America are plenty familiar with Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no” campaign, even though it began a decade before we were born. Schools drilled us with D.A.R.E. speakers and propaganda, telling us that drugs and alcohol are dangerous and it’s easy to turn them down.

More recently, the “Yes means yes” campaigns for unambiguous consent have echoed the sentiment that we deserve and have the right to control what we do with our bodies.

While it’s more complicated in reality, the message has always been clear: we have the ability to say no. Whether positive or negative consequences, it is within our own autonomy to make those choices.

But what about dangers to our health that aren’t so easy to turn down?

We all know one of those people who are constantly overwhelmed and in more extra-curricular organizations than you can count. They work two jobs, are taking twice as many classes as a normal student and still manage to look put together.

They start a new club on campus mid-semester, as if they weren’t busy enough. Just when they seemed busy enough, someone asks them to join a music group to fill an opening the day before the concert.

Of course, they agree to do it all, but why?

They can’t seem to say no. People keep asking them to accept more responsibilities, and they’re too polite to turn down the job. They feign composure, but in reality, they’re unable to say no and wind up taking on more than they can handle.

Stress is defined as mental and physical reaction to an adverse situation or event. The consequences depend on how you perceive the situation and your own ability to handle it.

The Good

“Good stress,” called eustress, is a positive motivator. It can push us to reach our goals by giving us the ability to focus. Once we’re in a productive mood, it’s easy to stay there and conquer a to-do list. Anything that is positively stimulating can be considered eustress. If you look at assignments and goals as a positive and achievable challenge, you likely experience a lot of eustress.

The Bad

The type of stress we’re more familiar with is actually called distress, or “bad stress.” This includes feeling overwhelmed, helpless or overburdened. Your to-do list is dauntingly long and triggers a fight-or-flight response from your body, and you are likely to become irritable and tense. Your body interprets your homework, busy schedule or strained emotions as a life-threatening condition, increasing your heart rate and decreasing your ability to focus on the rational assignment at hand.

The Ugly

The stress problem is that we experience distress more than eustress, and prolonged distress wreaks havoc on the body. You can learn more about these different types of stress here. Excessive distress is especially prevalent on college campuses, where students feel compelled to succeed, which is often measured by how many sports teams, music groups, jobs, class credits and other responsibilities they can handle. Instead of praising those who keep themselves overly busy, maybe we should praise those who prioritize their well-being.

It’s OK to say no. It’s OK to turn down jobs, extra-curriculars and leadership positions for clubs you can’t keep up with. It’s OK to take a Saturday night off and relax. It’s OK to skip a meeting and catch up on some much-needed sleep. Your health and well-being should always be your number one priority, because nobody else will prioritize that for you. Especially as we begin this long month of essays and exams, I ask that you practice saying no and take care of yourself.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Where To Find The Best Coffee Drinks In America, According To A Survey

Here's the coffee shop where you should get your morning brew.


Coffee, for billions of people, is one of the only things that can get us out of bed (after hitting snooze a time or two), especially in 2020. Because, if we're being honest, is there anything that beats a quality cup of coffee on those mornings when all we wanted to do is roll over and go back to sleep? The answer is no. And if you're headed to a coffee shop to pick up your caffeinated beverage, you don't want to sleep on the best coffee drinks in America.

According to LiveShopper Sassie's Coffee Project survey, when it comes to chain coffee shops, there are definitely preferred spots you'll want to hit up for your go-to order — whether you order the classic, frozen, or flavored coffee, an espresso, tea, or other. To figure out the hot spots, 1,000 coffee drinkers across the United States took to LiveShopper's mobile app, PrestoShopper, to answer various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less

The Best Bagel Recipes For Every Personality Type, In Case You Need Another Excuse To Eat Carbs

I'll approve of pasta for breakfast any day, but this is more socially acceptable.


I've had times in my life at which I've told myself I need to cut out carbs. Those moments last about a minute or two before I start daydreaming about rice and pasta.

Bagels hold a special place in my heart — for many of my college friends and me, a bagel sandwich was the go-to breakfast after a long night of drinking. Years later, I still love to indulge in the occasional carb-filled breakfast. As much as I love putting in an UberEats order from bed, nothing beats the feeling of pulling some fresh-baked bread or pastries out of the oven.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Survey: Which Issues Are The Most Important To You In The 2020 Election

If you're a first-time voter or voting by mail for the first time, we want to hear your story.


The general election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, will decide not only the next president of the United States but also which political party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. Young and first-time voters will play a crucial part in determining the result.

Keep Reading... Show less

Articles To Write If You're All About Saving More Money, And Waking Up A Little Bit Earlier

Get your day started right — and keep that budget tight.


For all the young professionals, parents, and students out there who've been working, learning, or even teaching remote — 2020 has likely been the longest year of your life. If you didn't know (sorry), we've been locked down for over 200 days now, and chances are, you are ready for it to be OVER.

Keep Reading... Show less

Scrolling through Instagram can get stale after a while, especially if you're constantly refreshing in the hopes of finding something new and exciting. Should you be looking to add some inspiration to your timeline in the form of self-love tips, relationship advice, or love secrets, here are 11 relationship coaches you'll LOVE following.

Keep Reading... Show less

How Much Of A Coffee Snob You Are, Based On Where You Live

Your state may determine how picky you are about your coffee.


When it comes to coffee, everyone has different criteria for what goes into their "perfect cup." Some caffeine lovers, though, are extra particular when it comes to their beloved beverage. One survey found that the state you're from (or the one you live in now) may play a part in determining how much of a coffee snob you actually are.

LiveShopper Sassie, the company behind this Coffee Project survey, received input from 1,000 coffee drinkers via their mobile app, PrestoShopper, to ask various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less

If you are a college freshman, or new to college, this is for you. If you are in a new time in life where you don't know where this change is going to take you, where you might not have your community yet, this is for you. Or even if you are stuck in a rut of everyday life where the new normal is quarantine and isolation, this is also for you.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

As Illinois Reaches Its Highest Death Toll Since June, I Urge You To Stay Home And Wear Your Mask

69 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in a twenty-four-hour period, the highest amount since June of this year.

Photo by Noah on Unsplash

As we are approaching colder weather, we are also approaching a spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the state of Illinois. On October 21, 2020, Illinois recorded its largest daily COVID-19 death toll since June of this year. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 69 deaths of people who contracted COVID-19 were recorded within a twenty-four-hour period, raising the state's death toll to 9,345 since the start of the pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less

9 Halloween Role Play Costumes That'll Make Your Partner Want To Jump Your Bones

Whoever thinks dress up is only for Halloween is seriously disturbed.


When "Mean Girls" said "In girl world, Halloween is the one time of the year where you can dress up like a total slut and no one can do or say anything about it," they were damn right. Halloween is the perfect excuse to buy that raunchy costume and show your partner that you're that B. Coming from a very single (yes, very single) 20 something-year-old, I have already got my Halloween costume on lock, and now you will too.

Not only are these 10 Halloween costumes dangerously sexy, but you can wear them in the bedroom whenever you want to give your boo a surprise, yes, year-round. Whoever said you can only dress up on Halloween is seriously disturbed.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ariana Grande released her first single called "positions" since "boyfriend" with Social House and it is a BANGER. This song is absolutely incredible and I am SURE you will agree with me once you listen.

I'm a sucker for a single with a video and that's exactly what we got. Ariana's been pretty quiet during the pandemic, and we all assumed she was working on some new music, and we were right.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Rejection Of Black Lives Matter Mural By Phoenix City Council Doesn’t Stop Gizette Knight

The Phoenix City Council rejected a proposal for a Black Lives Matter Mural in downtown Phoenix. But Gizette Knight says this is not the end.

Photo by Josh Olalde on Unsplash

Community organizer Gizette Knight, CEO of Reality Dreams LLC, is not giving up on the Phoenix City Council's rejection of the Black Lives Matter mural.

Keep Reading... Show less

For me, chai isn't just what I drink — it's a core part of who I am. Sure, I'll switch it up every now and then with a cup of English Breakfast, Earl Grey, rose, or Darjeeling, but I always come back to chai.

Nearly every tea lover has one tea they repeatedly drink and go back to, whether it's a daily morning ritual or an afternoon pick-me-up. One of my good friends has almost eight cups of jasmine tea every single day — she drinks more tea than water, actually.

Keep Reading... Show less

In a world where physical contact is a liability, the ease of slipping into despair and isolation has never been so tempting. Perhaps the greatest kindness we can lend to one another is reaching out to the people that meant something to us before everything changed. Here's why you should message your friend today.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments