How to be Assertive to overcome Anxiety in 14 Ways

How to be Assertive to overcome Anxiety in 14 Ways


How to be Assertive to overcome Anxiety in 14 Ways

How to be Assertive to Overcome Anxiety


Being assertive can have amazing benefits for anxiety sufferers.  Suffering from anxiety often leads to the individual becoming timid and not be able to express themselves.  Becoming assertive is seen as a healthier communication style than being tentative.  By standing up for yourself people are much more likely to take notice of you. 

Acting in an assertive way can help you-

  • Communication more effectively
  • Earn respect from other people
  • Let people know how you feel
  • Improve your confidence and self esteem
  • Help create more of a bond with people
  • Improve decision making skills
  • Get more involved and ultimately feel happier

assertiveResearch has shown if you can become more assertive it can help mental conditions such as depression, social anxiety, anorexia and bulimia.  

Often people develop different communication styles based on life experiences and their upbringing.  You probably do not even think how you communicate with people because it’s so engrained in you.  However if you analyze and change your communication skills then you can learn to interact in a healthier and more effective way.

  1. Start small.  Practice being assertive on a friend or a low risk situation like on a naughty child.  Evaluate how affective you were and build up to a more difficult situation like your boss.

  2. There is nothing wrong with stating what you do or don’t want.  When you deciding on something there is nothing wrong with expressing your opinion and seeing your needs as being just as important as anybody else’s.   Be assertive and repeat your desires.  This will often mean standing firm and having faith in your beliefs.

  3. Don’t just go along with other people’s beliefs and opinions.   Detach yourself from other people’s expectations of you. If you feel you’re correct just say what you think and be prepared for people to disagree with you.  That’s OK.  Just expect the same people who disagree with you to try and convince you to change your opinion, or to just flatly say “no” to you.  Ultimately you may just have to go out on a limb and follow your own path.

  4. You need to confirm that your needs are understood and that you want a response.  You need to ask other people who your engaging with have fully understood what you’re asking, and more importantly that you request a response.    A polite way of asking for a response might be “What do you think”, “Are you thinking the same as me”, How does that sound”, “Does that make sense”.

  5. Be crystal clear and ask specifically what you want.  Be specific in what you want and ask for clear and achievable goals that the other person can provide.  If the other person is confused in what you’re asking for, or there is scope for ambiguities, then frustration and mistakes can happen.  Tell them politely and confidently you would like X to happen.

  6. Believe you are just as important as anyone else.  Too many anxious people are intimidated in to letting other people make decisions on their behalf.  Your opinion and experiences are just as valid as anybody else.  Don’t be drowned out by the crowd. State your opinion and people will respect you more in the long run, and you will have more of a chance of getting your own way!

  7. Ask yourself what you want.  Please don’t do anything if it doesn’t fit in with your new lifestyle.  Too often people will just follow the crowd as they think it will be expected from them.  This is habitual social thinking and the results tend to be unproductive and negative.  Be selective in what you do.  Some activities will probably fulfil your needs whilst others are counterproductive.  It’s often helpful just to take a breather and count to 10 before making a decision.  Think things through before you commit. 

  8. Make sure you understand what the other person wants from you.  There is nothing wrong in repeating the question back to the person and asking them to clarify something.  In this way you are validating what the person said, and assuring them that you understand.  It’s also helps anxious people to fully understand what is being said, so that they don’t assume the worst. 

  9. Consider mistakes to be training.  We all have to start and learn from the beginning.  In order to build confidence we need to learn skills to succeed in life.  If you make a mistake don’t beat yourself up about it.  Mistakes are essential for growth. 

  10. Life changes and so must you.  Be flexible how you approach things.  Don’t let people walk over you but you must be prepared to change and meet the needs of people around you if the end results call for it.  Remember Darwin’s theory of evolution. It’s not the smartest or strongest animal that survives.  It’s the one that adapts to its environment the best.

  11. Realize that being assertive and negotiating with people is a skill anyone can learn.  Just like learning to walk, riding a bike, passing exams, using a computer; they are all skills we have learnt through our journey through life.  Being more assertive and pulling your own strings are skills we can learn through practice overtime.

  12. Think out of the box for a win, win solution.  If you work hard enough on focusing on a solution that benefits both parties you’re more likely to find a long term solution. Be tenacious and try to bring everybody along with you in the negations. 

  13.  Don’t get emotional about conflict.  If a politician got emotional every time he had a debate then the House of Commons they would all be nervous wrecks.  It’s much better to make decisions without an emotional hat on. Realize that if someone has a different opinion to you it’s not personal, it’s just that that have a different point of view.  Don’t go looking for trouble but if you find that conflict is unavoidable, politely and calmly state your opinion and accept what the other person does.  Conflict is sometimes unavoidable so just be assertive and go with the flow.  Keep your voice even and firm.

  14. B
    ody Language.  Communication isn’t just verbal.  Try to be confident even if your feel nervous.  Keep an upright posture and maintain eye contact at regular intervals.  It’s best not to make dramatic hand gestures but small, calm signals with your hands to express yourself.   

Assertiveness Training

As stated above being assertive is a skill which can be acquired.  If you can remember a situation when you are particularly proud of how assertive you were, go over the situation in your mind and take great pride in it.  Specifically remember how you managed to influence the outcome positively.  Were you especially persistent in expressing your point of view? Maybe your solution involved a win, win situation for everybody.

Alternatively, if you did not have a completely positive outcome to a situation, then there is nothing wrong with brainstorming the event and learning from the process.  Maybe it was just easier to give in or you just habitually said yes without thinking and now you regret it.  Either way learn from process but don’t endlessly go over the situation or make it a stressful, all consuming event.

“If we think only of ourselves, forget about other people, then our minds occupy very small area. Inside that small area, even tiny problem appears very big. But the moment you develop a sense of concern for others, you realize that, just like ourselves, they also want happiness; they also wantsatisfaction. When you have this sense of concern, your mind automatically widens. At this point, your own problems, even big problems, will not be so significant. The result? Big increase in peace of mind. So, if you think only of yourself, only your own happiness, the result is actually less happiness. You get more anxiety, more fear.” 
- Dalai Lama XIV, The Wisdom of Forgiveness


Assertiveness Training

As part of my recovery programme you willlearn to be more assertive.  If you can understand the facts and scientific explanation of your symptoms then you can challenge and demystify the negative thoughts you have about your sensations.  Really watch and observe how anxiety and panic affect you.  We are all unique and the symptoms can vary according to your body.  Once you determine what sensations seem to be brought on by certain things you can eliminate them. 

I personally find if I drink tea, coffee or alcohol my resistance to any stress is extremely poor.  If I have several pints of beer then I know I will feel anxious the next day.  Similarly If I use a computer too much my eyes become extremely sensitive to light.  If my diet is poor I can sense my body will tend to fluctuate from high to lows.   Believe you have the ability and power within to overcome your anxiety.  Once you start to follow my program whole heartedly, you WILL SEE RESULTS.  You need to continue to follow these steps for the rest of your life.  Changing your lifestyle and your thoughts are the key to overcoming anxiety. 

Assertiveness Skills

Have balance in your life so that physically and mentally you are in the right place.  Back this up by working on your thoughts and change them to be positive.  Keep practicing your new lifestyle and use the tools I teach you to change your life. 

By reading this clearly whatever you’re doing is it’s not working for you at the moment.  You must use the tools of affirmations, relaxation cd’s, social events, work, hobbies, diet, etc. Persist and reinforce with you new behaviour.  Eventually it will become habitual and you will start to naturally feel calmer, and you will not have to work at trying to keep your body relaxed.  You will do it automatically and you will be more assertive in your life.

As a rule of thumb if you have been experiencing severe panic disorder over many years, or even decades a full recovery (which I am advocating not just coping techniques) will take longer than some who has experienced anxiety for only several months.  TAKE HOPE IN KNOWING EACH AND EVERYONE OF US HAS THE POWER WITHIN US TO RECOVER, NO MATTER HOW HOPELESS YOU FEEL RIGHT NOW


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