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Emile Auguste-Chartier

To Think is to Say "No!"

French philosopher Emile Auguste Chartier (1868–1951): “To think is to say "no!” 


 This seemingly simple statement is undeniably thought provoking. We could think of it as “don’t let others put you on the spot to agree to something you don’t believe in”. But more profoundly, it tells us that a thinking person challenges the convention, the status quo ... the standard. 


If you want to significantly reduce unneeded stress, learn to say “no!” 


Say “no!” to other people’s lifestyles 

In our modern society, keeping up with the Joneses has become a pervasive culture. Unfortunately, it has also become a major source of stress for most of us.


Your personal life and your lifestyle is your business and not anyone else’s. So take charge and do things your way. From now on, rather than trying to catch up (or maintain your lead!) with your neighbors, colleagues and aquaintances, give priority to the way you want to live your life. Don’t let anyone talk you into anything you don’t agree with or you don’t really want to do.


Take control. You are the boss! Don’t be afraid to say no to conventions. Remember, only dead fish swim with the current! Do it your way and see how much better you feel when you are in control!


Say “no!” to all unreasonable demands

You cannot be and should not be everything to everyone. Set you own limits as to how much demand you can handle without undue stress. Don’t let anyone force you to exceed that limit. When demands exceed our resources we go into full distress (stress without satisfaction) mode and become ill in the process. Don’t let it happen. Draw the lines. Set the limits. Say “no!” 


Say “no!” to commercial TV

Fact: Americans watch an aggregate of two hundred and forty billion hours of TV every year. No, that is not a typo! Two hundred and forty billion hours! What is your share of that?


Research has shown that our brains are least active while watching TV than during any other activity including sleeping! Spending too much time in front of TV has been linked to obesity, attention deficit disorders, Altzheimer's disease, social isolation, anxiety disorders, poor student performance and a host of other serious health problems.


If you watch TV for news, please remember that commercial chanel TV news are more a source of stress rather than useful information. TV news allow us no brain activity, no choice of time frame, no choice of topic, no choice of format and no personal interaction. Nothing positive! We are literally force fed and braiwashed by rubbish!


Since nothing in TV news is under our control, what we usually get is the ugliest, most negative and most out of context material which is virtually useless and replete with false and biased information. This would cause plenty of unfounded anxiety and stress even if it is at subliminal level.


Obviously enough, the main objective of commercial TV conglomerates is to make profit for their stock holders by increasing ratings so they can sell more expensive advertising. They accomplish that by any means possible, including restoring to depiction of violence, false dramatization, exaggeration, sensationalization and dishonest editing.


Unfortunately, the modern media businesses are not generally endowed with enough moral values or integrity for putting honesty ahead of profits. They don’t care if we get sick. So turn commercial TV off and see how less stressful and happier life becomes!


Personal confession: I have not watched commercial TV for almost twenty years and I don't miss even a minute of it it! However I do watch non-commercial channels, made-for-TV movies and series through streaming services, commercial free! If you like sports on TV, watch it but get up and walk during commercials, except of course during the Super Bowl!

















 Tip: Of all Media sources for national and international news (Internet, TV, radio and press), internet is probably the best choice. It gives us the freedom to choose what we want to read, when we want to read it and from which source we read. Besides, we are more actively participating and we can even interact and give feedback. Most importantly we can readily search for background information and context to get a better perspective on the subject. More control means less stress!


Say “no!” to interruptions.

Protect your dinner time with your family and your private time with your loved ones. They are some of your most precious things you could ever have in your life. Unplug the phone During dinner!  Spend uninterrupted quality time and converse with family and friends. It's more rewarding than you might think!


Say “no!” to rapid pace.

We are living in an age where our lives are unnecessarily rushed.  Don’t you sometimes feel that your life pace has gone supersonic at fifty thousand feet and your view of the world is becoming blurred?  If you do, try to slow down and enjoy life in its simple forms.


Come back down to earth and go slow instead. Notice and enjoy life’s little pleasures. Say "no!" to rapid pace or you'll miss out. There is plenty of beauty and many reasons for happiness all around us. All you need to do is to slow down and look. You will find them! Still need clues as to where to look?: Family, friends, nature, music, good books, pets, favorite hobbies, your pleasant thoughts and dreams. Just slow down once in a while and smell the roses.


As you see, there are so many goog things about learning when to say "No!". Practice this simple skill and use it when it is appropriate. You will feel more in control which means you will be less stressed and you will thank yourself for doing it!



Found on a wall in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo taken by Brian Aslak Gylte from Norway

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