If you say “yes” to these 8 things, you’ll be happier in the long run

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How often do you say “Yes” on an average day?

Five times? Ten times? Twenty times? Or almost never?

Many people have tried the “Saying yes” challenge and reported their findings online.

As one expert (in an article about someone who said yes to everything for a year) loosely puts it:

“Saying yes opens you up to new opportunities, switches your brain to “positive” mode, encourages personal growth, and can, overall, promote more happiness”.

Of course, there are many benefits to saying “No” often, too.

In no way, shape, or form should you overstep your boundaries (or let someone else do it) just for the sake of saying yes more often.

But there are some things you can say yes to that can (sometimes scientifically proven) improve your overall sense of happiness, wellbeing, and physical health.

Interested to know what they are? Here are 8 things to say yes to for a happier future!

1) Going on spontaneous trips

What’s your instinctive response when someone invites you on a last-minute trip or suggests a spontaneous holiday?

Is it to say a firm, “No”? Or are you happy to give things a go and shake your life up a bit?

I have a friend who’s probably the most organized person I know. And while her organizational skills are highly admirable, they also make her a little inflexible sometimes.

Whenever we get invited to a spontaneous trip, she’ll never accept it – even if she’s free.

Why? Because she likes to have time to plan things out.

I understand wanting to have a plan (I’m a pretty organized person myself). But sometimes, a little spontaneity feels good.

And I know for sure that she’s missed out on some great weekends away and days out because she hasn’t said yes to some last-minute plans!

2) Taking pictures

Have you ever been in a situation where someone says to you, “Do you want to take a picture?” and you get all shy and say no – even though you really want to say yes?

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been in this situation many, many times before throughout my life.

Mostly when I was walking along with someone else staring at a beautiful view or something cute happening on the sidewalk.

Why I didn’t want to say yes is beyond me (a little bit of social anxiety, perhaps).

But once I started saying, “Yes!” and whipping my phone out to take a quick shot, I soon had an incredible collection of photos of the “normal” things in my life.

Which, overall, made me more appreciative of the simple things.

3) Starring in photos (alone or with friends)

Way too often in my life, I haven’t taken any photos of a day trip or evening out – mostly because I didn’t want to burden people with taking a snap.

And it’s probably one of my biggest regrets from my younger years.

Because, as the age-old saying goes, “Memories fade but pictures last a lifetime”.

There are so many memories I’ve almost forgotten about because I don’t have pictures from the day or evening.

And while it’s nice to have the memories of things and live in the moment, sometimes, having a photo really helps, too.

So, say yes to starring in that picture – and years later you can look back and cringe, smile, laugh, or cry at the memory captured!

4) A little PDA

When I was younger, I absolutely hated the idea of showing any PDA (public displays of affection) whatsoever.

It wasn’t until I met my ex who got very hurt by my lack of PDA that I considered – why am I so resistant to a bit of PDA?

Why am I so embarrassed to show that I love someone and am loved in return?

I love them, after all, so why not show it? Especially if not doing so makes them feel unloved.

So provided you’re not in an environment where PDA would be super inappropriate, why not give it a go sometime?

Accept the hand that reaches for you, the tight squeeze when greeting each other, and the little peck when they just want to show you they love you!

5) Participating in physical exercise

Provided you’re fit and healthy enough (or your doctor gives you the OK), why not say yes to a bit of physical exercise every now and then?

These days, I consider myself a pretty active person, but I wasn’t always this way.

I remember over the years asking a friend if she was free for a catch-up.

Being an active person, she’d often say she was at the gym that morning, going for a jog that evening, or attending a fitness class.

And she’d always say, “You’re welcome to come if you like!”.

And even when I could attend for free via her memberships, I still never did it.

Usually, it was just the fear of trying something new that stopped me.

Now, I’m the person always telling friends they’re welcome to join me or offering them a free class pass whenever I get them.

And rarely do they ever accept.

I completely get it. But I also know just how happier exercising regularly has made me – with many studies backing up why.

6) Volunteering your help

Volunteering takes valuable time away from yourself, there’s no denying that.

But it also feels good to lend a hand sometimes.

According to some reports, volunteering can boost your confidence, skills, sense of connection to the community, and even your overall wellbeing.  

Whether it’s something “big”, like volunteering to plant trees for your local council and helping out at the local animal shelter, or small (like helping a friend move).

Offering your time to help others feels good and can have great benefits for your own sense of self – as well as the community around you!

7) Going on a date (when your reasons for saying no are not that sound)

Of course, don’t just say yes to anyone who asks you on a date, just because you’re trying to say yes more.

It’s important to have boundaries and understand what you want when dating.

Otherwise, you could end up in a toxic relationship or with someone who doesn’t meet your needs.

But provided you’re single and at least somewhat interested in finding a partner, maybe say yes to a date when your reasons for saying no aren’t that great.

For me, my list of bad reasons for not going on a date were things like:

  • I have nothing to wear

  • I can’t be bothered

  • I don’t fancy leaving the house

  • They probably won’t like me anyway

When I met my current partner, I’d completely given up on the dating apps and dating in general.

When he popped up randomly and asked me on a date, I actually said no at first. But after we continued talking for a while, I agreed to it.

And I’m so glad I did! Because I genuinely believe I’ve found my soulmate in him.

We often joke about what would have happened to us if we never went on that date. But it’s actually serious, because we could have quite easily passed each other by.

So, the moral of the story is, you never know what could happen if you say yes to a date.

And provided this person isn’t categorically awful or you really don’t want to for genuine reasons, maybe say yes instead of no sometimes – and see what happens!

8) Participating in self-care

Self-care is definitely a buzzword these days.

Almost everyone on TikTok and Instagram likes a post about how they’re looking after themselves – from showing off their newly painted nails to posting a bathtub pic.

And there’s a reason why it’s so popular.

It’s been clinically proven that self-care reduces anxiety, stress, and feelings of depression.

Self-care also increases feelings of happiness, helps you build strong relationships with others, and improves your ability to adapt to change.

But it’s quite easy to stop looking after yourself for an endless list of reasons (no time, want to save money, too tired, a need to care for other people, etc. etc.).

But since a bit of self-care can go a long way in boosting your overall well-being and sense of self, saying “yes” to it whenever you can goes a long way!

Final thoughts

Remember, saying “yes” to things doesn’t just mean sitting back and waiting for people to ask you to join them on their adventures.

Sure, that may happen sometimes. But more often than not, adventures aren’t always going to fall into your lap.

Sometimes, what we mean by saying “yes” is saying it to the voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, that you’re scared, or (the worst one), that you can’t do it.

Instead of just accepting those thoughts, try turning your mindset around and going for it once in a while.

You may surprise yourself with how capable, confident, and fun you are!

Amy Reed

Amy Reed is a content writer from London working with international brands. As an empath, she loves sharing her life insights to help others. When she’s not writing, she enjoys a simple life of reading, gardening, and making a fuss over her two cats.

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