Millions of people across the world suffer from some type of anxiety. Many of these people have not been officially diagnosed.
Anxiety is adept at complicating our lives, including effective interpersonal communication. It affects our communication skills. The way we speak, our body language, and how we behave in various relationships.
With so many people affected by anxiety, it’s no wonder a lot of us have trouble communicating well.
When we feel anxious or have worried thoughts, we might come across in ways we don’t intend to. For example, some people with anxiety can seem standoffish or give off signals that keep people away.
Let’s take a closer look at how exactly does anxiety complicate effective interpersonal communication.
Displaying Defensive Body Language
Interpersonal communication involves both verbal and non-verbal cues. Body language is a huge part of communicating information to another individual. Anxiety can block showing positive body language, especially when it makes us feel distracted or self-conscious.
When you’re feeling anxious or nervous, you’re more likely to appear closed off. You may turn away from the person you’re talking to. Or you may clasp your hands close to you or cross your arms over your chest, etc. And sending these adverse nonverbal signals to the people you’re talking to can cause discord in how they understand you.
Effective interpersonal communication requires the right kind of body language. If you’re saying one thing, but your physical signals are implying another, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get your point across effectively.
Detaching from Emotions
People with anxiety disorders often try to avoid experiencing strong or negative emotions. They won’t open up to people or reveal what they’re really feeling or thinking. Thus, they’re often viewed as cold or lacking in empathy.
In both professional and personal relationships, this type of defensive stance can create big problems.
Do you avoid your real feelings because you worry about being vulnerable? If so, you’ll never be able to communicate effectively with others. Again, you may be saying one thing, but your signals give off a different impression.
Being Too Dependent
On the other end of the spectrum, instead of creating distance, anxiety often makes people overly dependent. They need constant reassurance and constant support which really complicates effective interpersonal communication. And it makes it difficult to get anything accomplished.
For instance, a person with anxiety may depend on remaining in constant communication with someone else. And if they aren’t able to connect with that person, their fear, worry, and paranoia start to become worse.
This kind of unhealthy dependence isn’t good for any type of relationship, let alone for having healthy communication.
Communicating Effectively While Dealing with Anxiety
Interpersonal communication is a part of everyday life in many different ways. And the best way to practice effective interpersonal communication when you have anxiety is to treat the disorder itself. Don’t let your anxiety put your job, friendships, or romantic relationship at risk. Because if anxiety isn’t dealt with in some way, it often gets worse.
Exploring your emotions and what triggers your anxiety is a good place to start. By learning how to manage your anxiety, you can continue to have effective interpersonal communication on a daily basis. As a result, you’ll strengthen your relationships, rather than put up defensive walls against them.
While there are things you can do on your own, if you’re struggling with anxiety and it’s affecting your interpersonal communication, anxiety therapy is one of the best solutions.
Feel free to contact us to set up an appointment. By understanding some of the underlying causes of your extreme worry, we can tailor effective solutions for how you can harness your anxiety and keep it under control.