Work stress and anxiety at work come from many causes but an important reason why our working lives can prove difficult can be due to our problems with being assertive.
Being assertive is often misperceived as being angry or aggressive but this is not the case. Assertiveness is the ability to communicate your needs, manage the expectations of those around you and ultimately the ability to say “no”.
Sometimes our early life experiences can predispose to have problems being assertive. If we have been bullied or our emotional needs dismissed by authority figures during our childhood, this leads to a tendency for us to suppress difficult emotions and develop a sense of guilt if we communicate our needs to others.
Problems with assertiveness at work can lead us to take on extra work which at times is not achievable. It can also cause us to feel exploited, “acting out” our anger in unhelpful ways e.g. leaving work early or can predispose to bullying dynamics in the workplace.
Assertiveness is a skill that can be learnt even as an adult. Problems with assertiveness can predispose us to a wide range of mental health difficulties including Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and problems with drugs and alcohol.
Whilst there are many practice techniques that can help develop assertiveness skills, Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) is a helpful therapeutic intervention that can establish how your childhood experiences predisposed you to problems with assertiveness.
For more information about how you can reduce work stress and anxiety by being more assertive, visit the following links:
To book an initial consultation with Dr Nathan Anthony, please call 0207 299 0375, or fill in our online appointment request form.