Following on from the recent world Mental Health Day, Wellbeing & Leadership Manager @ Wrkit, Jason Brennan, explains that it is important to take time out to reflect on our overall mental health and wellness and what might be contributing to ongoing areas of unwellness.
One key area of wellness is healthy communication and the ability to confidently speak out about what is important to us, what is affecting us emotionally and psychologically and what might be contributing to our not being heard. This is the important skill of assertiveness.
Assertiveness is defined as:
- Someone who is being assertive behaves confidently and is not frightened to say what they want or believe
- Being assertive means being able to stand up for your own or other people’s thoughts, feelings or rights in a calm and positive way, without being either aggressive, or passive in behaviour
Assertiveness is standing up for ourselves and our personal rights by expressing our thoughts, feelings and beliefs in a direct, honest and appropriate way. By being assertive we need always to respect the thoughts, feelings and beliefs of other people and in so doing we are promoting an I’m OK, You’re OK philosophy – respecting the worth, value and dignity of ourselves and others.
Being able to communicate effectively means
- Slowing down
- Figuring out how we feel
- Exploring why we feel this way
- Understanding what relates to me and what relates to not me (others or external situation)
- Think about how to influence the external
- Create a plan to execute
- Consider context for contact (where and when to talk)
Part of our plan might be to communicate and explain to others what is happening for us and how they might be contributing to this and to work on a plan to change and improve the situation.
Some tips to being assertive are –
- Understand how we feel and why we feel this way
- Manage our emotions with clear thoughts
- Maintain self-control in how we want to share these insights
- Express ourselves through this reflective understanding
- Choose to speak out and be heard considerately and appropriately (avoid blame)
- Encourage two-way openness
- Ok to disagree, assertiveness is about self-expression
- Listen and respond to others point of view appropriately
- Admit to mistakes and apologise if appropriate and helpful
- Treat others as equal – I’m ok, You’re ok
- Feel good about having activated the skill of assertiveness and understanding
Author: Jason Brennan, Wellbeing & Leadership Manager @ Wrkit