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“One of our most fundamental needs is for social connection and a feeling that we belong,” Dr. Bohns says. “Saying “no” feels threatening to our relationships and that feeling of connectedness.” And we worry that saying “no” will change the way the other person views us, and make him or her feel badly.
Sadly, it often does hurt feelings. “No” is a rejection. Neuroscience has shown our brains have a greater reaction to the negative than to the positive. Negative information produces a bigger and swifter surge of electrical activity in the cerebral cortex than does positive information. Negative memories are stronger than positive ones. All of this is to protect us: A strong memory of something hurtful helps us remember to avoid it in the future.
Even so, psychologists say, most people probably won’t take our “no” as badly as we think they will. That’s because of something called a “harshness bias”—our tendency to believe others will judge us more severely than they actually do. “Chances are the consequences of saying “no” are much worse in our heads than they would ever be in reality,” Dr. Bohns says. -Elizabeth Berstein

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene where your character has to say know. Include the inner monologue.

Journaling Prompt: Are you afraid to say no? What drives that fear?

Art Prompt: Saying no

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about tactics they can use to overcome their resistance to saying no.

Photo Credit: bark on Flickr

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