People who are assertive tend to be those who have much lower levels of stress. One reason for this is because they are able to express their feelings to others in a manner which is not offensive, but in a way that gets their point across.
Someone who uses assertive communication tends to be someone who is honest, and they will make sure that they express themselves in a manner that virtually anyone can understand.
While assertiveness is a skill that some people naturally have, for others it is something that must be learned. This skill is highly valuable because it can reduce the amount of stress you have, and this will make you both happier and healthier.
The primary reason why being assertive can allow you to reduce stress is simply because personal conflicts with others often leads to stress. In fact, personal conflicts with others is one of the number one things which lead to stress.
While these conflicts are inevitable, the way in which you go about handling them will mean the difference between a stress free life, and one that is highly stressful. Studies have shown that those individuals who suffer from high amounts of stress tend to be those who develop the most chronic diseases as they age.
When it comes to being assertive, the biggest mistake you can make is confusing it with aggressiveness. One reason why many people make this mistake is because both these behaviors require you to stand up for yourself.
However, the key difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness is that being aggressive will hurt and defend others, while assertiveness will allow you to stand up for yourself without offending others. Those who are assertive seek to create a win-win situation with everyone they come in contact with.
Assertiveness and Aggressiveness
An aggressive individual is a person who will use underhanded tactics to get what they want. When they are offended by a person, they are quick to explode, get into fights, and start arguments. Aggressive people often tend to be those who have bad tempers, and they are often manipulative as well.
These people often go throughout life seeking conflict, and in the most extreme cases, overly aggressive people often end up behind bars. While aggressive people often succeed and get what they want through sheer intimidation or cunning, they often create so many enemies in the process that their "success" is often not worth it.
Another personality trait which is negative is someone who is passive. A passive person is often incapable of communicating their feelings to others, and because of this, people tend to walk over them, either intentionally or inadvertently.
These individuals are just the opposite of those who are aggressive: while aggressive people are always looking for conflict, passive people are always trying to avoid it. The problem with trying to avoid conflict is that it is impossible to avoid.
Unless you are a hermit living alone in the forest, you will have to deal with people, and when you deal with people, conflicts will inevitably emerge. A passive person is an individual who will lose in every negotiation they enter, because they are often willing to give up a lot in order to keep things peaceful.
Another danger with passive people is that they often bottle their feelings up inside, and when they finally do express how they feel, they do so in a way which is explosive and unnecessary. To manage stress effectively, you must be a balance between these two extremes.
Being Assertive is the Way to find Balance
The first step towards being assertive is to find out which category you fall under. Are you the type of person that gives in too easily to others? Are you quick to stand up for yourself, or do you tend to give people a lot of slack? Are you overly aggressive, quick to explode and get into arguments with those around you? If you fall under either extreme, you will want to focus on becoming more moderate. Being moderate will allow your stress levels to remain healthy, and you will enjoy a much fuller life.