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Wise Ways to Be More Assertive

By Sandy Schroeder

Sometimes it is hard to find the right level of assertiveness as we deal with friends, family and co-workers. No one wants to be a dictator and no one wants to feel like a victim. 

Healthy give and take in interactions is really the way to go. If you are frustrated by your interactions and want to learn some new ways to be assertive, the Mayo Clinic may have the tips you need. 

Start by understanding your style - Do you always give an opinion or are you often quiet? Do you take on extra work when you are already swamped? Do people shy away from you? Do you often feel alienated from others? 

Suggest rather than command - Say "I think this might work," instead of "You need to do it this way." Let people know what you are thinking without demanding that they comply. 

Learn how to say no - Don't apologize. Just be direct and give a brief reason if you want to as you say no. 

Practice handling situations with ease - Think about your daily encounters and practice being firm but not pushy as you express your opinions or make requests. Watch other people interacting and see how people successfully assert themselves. 

Use positive body language - Lean forward. Maintain eye contact. Use your posture to project your confidence. Lead with a smile and stay positive. 

Consider your goals - Think about the areas in your life where you feel you need to be more assertive. You may want to communicate better with your co-workers or establish a stronger leadership in your community. Or you may want to be more effective with your kids.  

Ask for feedback - Confide in a trusted friend and ask them to give you their opinion on your assertiveness. They know you and may have some good suggestions such as speaking up more, speaking firmly, or adding smiles to your requests.  

Improve gradually - Start with low key situations at home or with friends and practice to achieve the level of assertiveness that you are looking for. As you feel more confident, you can try out assertive approaches at work or in the community. 

Build your confidence - Don't try to master assertiveness overnight. The right level that feels comfortable may take some time to establish. As you work on it, your new level of assertiveness will feel more natural and you will get more and more good results. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractic at The Joint Chiropractic in Irvine, Calif.

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