ASSERTIVENESS – How to Prevent or Reduce Anxiety and Depression
There are many reasons why people seek therapy from psychologists for anxiety, depression and other issues. However, lack of assertiveness is often overlooked. Learn to recognize what assertiveness is, the problems lack of assertiveness can cause, how to become more assertive, and the benefits:
What Is ‘’Assertiveness’’? Being assertive means speaking up for one’s rights without disrespecting anyone else’s. It involves managing stress, solving problems as they arise, and staying calm no matter how the other person reacts.
Lack of Assertiveness – Internal conflict that can be created by passive behavior can lead to:
- Anxiety and Depression
- Resentment or Anger
- Feelings of victimization
- Relationship Issues
- Doubting or questioning our own judgment-low self esteem.
Assertive Traits – Assertive people are able to be honest about their thoughts and feelings in a respectful way. They actively listen to and are considerate of other people’s perspectives. Assertive people are able to maintain control over their feelings and admit when they’ve made a mistake.
How can you be more assertive? Concisely state what you want or need from the other person. Listen carefully to their response. Respect their thoughts and feelings; don’t argue or attack if you sense resistance. Instead, offer potential solutions to the problems that come up. If you reach a stalemate where there’s no possible compromise, be prepared to walk away
Benefits – Behaving assertively can help you:
- Gain self-confidence and self-esteem
- Gain a sense of empowerment
- Understand and recognize your feelings
- Earn respect from others
- Improve communication
- Create win-win situations
- Improve your decision-making skills
- Create honest relationships
- Gain more job satisfaction
Learning – Here are some tips to help you become more assertive:
- Assess your style. Do you voice your opinions or remain silent? Do you say yes to additional work even when your schedule is full?
- Use ‘I’ statements. Using I statements lets others know what you’re thinking or feeling without sounding accusatory.
- Rehearse what you want to say.
- Use body language.
- Keep emotions in check.
- Concisely state what you want or need from the other person. Listen carefully to their response. Respect their thoughts and feelings; don’t argue or attack if you sense resistance. Instead, offer potential solutions to the problems that come up. If you reach a stalemate where there’s no possible compromise, be prepared to walk away
Therapy – If despite your best efforts you’re not making progress toward becoming more assertive, consider formal assertiveness training. And if certain issues such as anger, stress, depression, anxiety or fear are getting in your way, consider therapy with a psychologist. The payoff will be worth it. By becoming more assertive, you can begin to express your true feelings and needs more easily. You may even find that you get more of what you want as a result.
Rollin S Rhodes PhD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist