Alleviate STRESS By Becoming More Assertive!
By Victoria Wylie and Alina Baugh
Victoria Wylie and Alina Baugh are co-founders of Epoch Life & Image Coaching, offering individuals physical, mental and emotional guidance to create a transformation inside and out.
It is important to be aware of how your communication style is interpreted by others in order to avoid misunderstandings. It is equally as important to understand how your communication style can affect your ability to deal with stress and anger. There are four main communication styles; passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive. According to the Mayo Clinic, research suggests that being assertive can help control stress, anger, and improve coping skills for mental illness. Take an honest look at your communication style and see what kind of communicator you are today.
If your style is passive, you tend to hold back and not speak your mind. People might see you as shy or easygoing. However, oftentimes your avoidance of expressing your opinions, feelings, and needs is born out of low self-esteem and a fear of conflict. You might not realize it, but the message you are sending to others is that your thoughts and feelings are not as important as other people's. Instead, grievances and annoyances can start to mount and cause internal conflict. That internal conflict may lead to anxiety, resentment, anger, and stress.
If your style is aggressive, you are very good at expressing your opinions and advocating for yourself. However, you may come across as a bully that disregards the feelings and needs of others. Very aggressive people violate others' rights through humiliation and intimidation. Even though you might end up getting what you want, you will undercut trust and mutual respect of others around you. When you alienate people, life can become very isolating as others start to avoid you.
If you have a passive-aggressive communication style, you are expressing aggressive behavior in a passive way. You appear to be in agreement on the surface but are really undermining or acting out anger towards others behind their back. Often passive-aggressive behavior stems from powerlessness and resentment due to inability to be direct about your needs and feelings. Over time anger can build up and create stress, damage relationships, and leave you lonely.
Finally, if your style is assertive, you have the unique ability to clearly state your opinion and needs while respecting the rights of others. Assertive communication is direct, honest, and open. Your ability to express yourself effectively lets people know that you are a firm advocate for your rights. Behaving assertively helps you with self-confidence by asking and getting your needs met. An assertive approach with others also gains you their respect. A simple but polite "no" avoids you over committing and brings balance into your life. Also, assertive people tend to have less conflict with others because they want to create a compromise that is a win-win situation. Most importantly, being assertive helps reduce stress by reducing the interpersonal turmoil in your life.
SIX Tips to Become More Assertive
Remember that good communication skills require a high level of self awareness. If you are sincere about developing a better communication style, you should look into hiring a communication coach. This person can help assess your current communication style and provide feedback that will go a long way toward helping you become more confident and stress-free.
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