4 Ways to Assert Yourself Despite Anxiety

Individuals with anxiety disorders often have trouble “standing up” to the various people they encounter on a daily basis. This occurs for various reasons, the most common of which is the fear of how the other person will react. Unfortunately, failing to be assertive at appropriate times often has the opposite effect you might expect.

Everyone has basic expectations of how other people treat them, such as respect and autonomy. When you opt not to assert your right to these and other elements, it often creates a greater sense of inner turmoil. The result can be heightened – rather than lessened – feelings of anxiety.

Settings in Which You May Need to Assert Yourself

Various circumstances arise over the course of any given day in which assertiveness is necessary. These include:

  • Professional settings. Coworkers, supervisors, and even aggressively-behaving customers will not hesitate to demand more from you than you are willing or able to give. Standing up to them firmly and with tact commands respect.
  • Social settings. Parties, nights out with friends, and other social situations may present conflicting personalities. Confusing passivity with politeness is easy in such settings.
  • Public settings. Consider the many public spaces you frequent, from roadways to banks to grocery stores. Holding your ground among sometimes pushy strangers can be one of the greatest challenges.
  • Close relationships. Family members and significant others often place ample emotional pressure on one another. Acquiescing to loved ones’ demands can feel like the path of least resistance, but it often leaves you feeling exhausted.

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Acting with Confidence when You Don’t Feel Confident

When a mental illness like anxiety takes up so much real estate in your mind, mustering the motivation and courage to be assertive in difficult situations may feel impossible. It is not. With a few steps, you can learn to act with confidence, even when you don’t feel it.

  1. Explore the source of your anxiety. What could be causing your fear of standing up to a particular person? Is it their personality or the power they have over an aspect of your life? Whatever the reason, understanding your anxiety regarding that situation can help you address it.
  2. Rehearse the exchange. When anticipating a confrontation, practice what you want to say to the other person out loud. Hearing yourself saying the words can help you say them with more confidence when the time comes.
  3. Be clear and concise. Anxiety can give sufferers the tendency to ramble in tense situations; unfortunately, this often weakens the argument you are trying to make. Instead, state your case succinctly and decisively, and wait for the other party to respond.
  4. Let it go afterward. Whatever the outcome of a situation in which you asserted yourself, try not to dwell on what you should have done differently or what consequences will result. Instead, congratulate yourself on the progress you have made towards becoming more assertive.

Anxiety treatment is a complex process that often takes a significant length of time. If you are considering a residential option in which to focus fully on your recovery, contact Bridges to Recovery today to discuss if our facility is right for you.