Clients are often surprised when we focus on assertive communication as a part of reducing anxiety. The traditional trip to the psychiatrist for medication or the focus on relaxation breathing is expected, but identifying passive/aggressive communication and being assertive – not so much.
Assertive communication often eases anxiety because we communicate from a place of confidence and out of our personal values. There is consistency internally and externally in how we express ourselves and we feel safe and authentic. The inconsistency of passive/aggressive communication keeps our bodies in a state of uncertainty where we feel unsafe and unprotected. That is why when we least expect it our bodies may jump into a state of fight or flight, feeling afraid and anxious.
There are a lot of good reasons why the idea of saying what you really want to say and asking for changes in relationships can feel a bit challenging. Often it’s not been safe to speak up. In the past, bad things may have happened when you chose to make your wishes known. Or you may have just grown tired of being ignored and feel there’s no use to try.
Why start now to try? Maybe you’re in a safer environment. Maybe that person who was so dangerous is not in your life. Maybe you are different now and you know how to protect yourself both physically and emotionally. Maybe you’re just tired of sitting on the sidelines of life and being so afraid. There’s so much you want from life and you’re gaining the confidence you need to speak it out loud.
Assertive communication has specific tools that are proven to be effective – as long as you don’t measure your success entirely by the reaction you receive. Effective assertive communication is:
Delivers a specific message in a confident tone
Responds the same way every time (consistent and persistent)
Remains calm even when you have to say it over-and-over again
Isn’t dependent on how others react
When communication is done effectively, others begin to make room for you and adjust to who you are. Your responses become so predictable that you know what you’ll say when someone asks a question because you believe it is true. Assertive communication lets other people know you and is a great start to living an authentic life. Living authentically eases anxiety and increases confidence. Use your voice today and see anxiety begin to melt away.