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Note 4: The stress barrier

Welcome to note 4 of 12. In the previous note, we covered the assertive style of communication. In this note, we will look at how stress affects communication.

It is commonly agreed that the assertive style usually works better than the passive, aggressive and the passive-aggressive style. So why doesn’t everyone use it? One explanation is that we first need to overcome the stress barrier or the stress response.

When the stress response is triggered a number of physical changes take place, including:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Increased blood supply to larger muscles

Besides these physical responses, a stress response can cause psychological and behaviour changes as well. These can affect how we feel in being able to listen and communicate. For example, we may feel that things are unclear, confusing, to not be able to organise our thoughts or that our mouths cannot move.

Remember: You need to overcome the stress response to adopt a more assertive style.

Action: Try to write down one situation in which you felt stressed in the past week. Can you remember what thoughts ran through your head and how you felt?

In the next note we’ll look at building resistance to stress.

And don’t forget: You are valuable. You are powerful. You can do this!

Your friends at Soul Medicine

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