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3 Tips for Less Anxiety More Assertiveness

Posted on: February 4th, 2016 by Dr. Angela Bisignano No Comments

Two young female executives having a friendly discussion over coffee

Have you ever had a time when you felt some anxiety about not being able to speak your mind? When you are unable to communicate your thoughts or needs to someone it can leave you with many uncomfortable feelings including distress and disappointment. If being assertive is something you sometimes struggle with, then this article is for you.

Assertiveness is a way of responding where you are able to communicate your thoughts, feelings and needs in an acceptable manner. People who practice being assertive can feel less anxiety. Assertiveness is different than being aggressive. Being assertive means being attuned to what you are feeling, what you need and what you are thinking. You are able to monitor your internal pulse so that you are able to express yourself. Dr. Paul Meier in Rooted in Peace: Uprooting Anxiety in Your Life explains, “Assertiveness is the confidence to let people know how you feel and to ask what you need.”

Aggressive behavior is a way of responding that communicates an abrasive or demanding attitude. Aggressive behavior is usually not well received by others and often leads to people feeling intimidated, manipulated or coerced. It usually puts people on the defensive and causes them to want to withdraw rather than cooperate.

Here are 3 tips for feeling less anxiety and more assertive:

1. Learn to identify your feelings and needs.

Understanding what you are feeling, what you need and what you want to communicate is the first step in being assertive. Learning to listen to yourself is important. If you are not quite sure what you are feeling or needing, try writing. Find a quiet place and begin writing down your thoughts and impressions. Sometimes just doing this exercise alone will give you deeper awareness and clarity.

2.  Practice Your Response.

Once you have identified what it is you are feeling or needing you can begin practicing your response. You can do this by mentally coming up with a script or you can write out your response. What ever choice you make you will want to practice, so that when you are talking with someone you are clear, concise and confident. Becoming confident may take a little time, however the more you practice being assertive with people the easier it will become.

3.   Communicate Your Case.

Once you have identified and practiced you are ready to go. Remember to stay calm and communicate your case. In the beginning you may feel a little tense. Remember to use your breathing and communicate. You have a right to let people know how you feel or what you need. Remember people are not mind readers. If you do not tell them what you feel or need chances are they won’t know either.