As we are in the middle of the holiday season, many of us are spending time with family and friends at gatherings and celebrations. What a perfect time to notice the quality of your communication, and practice being an intentional listener!
Take a look at this article to learn more! It includes a fun exercise and some fabulous pointers to bring awareness around authentic communication and mindful listening.
Credit goes to Jill Merrell of Peace Joy Love Life, my dear friend and colleague, who I partner with to create and share this valuable mindfulness content!
Can You Hear Me Now?
Have you ever felt like you are not really being heard?
Well, you may find out that you are not alone. Although our intention may be in the right place, the myriad of distractions we encounter when we are speaking with others on a daily basis can be harmful to ourselves and our relationships.
In today's fast-paced world, where distractions abound and the noise of modern life can be deafening, the practice of mindful listening has never been more essential. Mindful listening is not merely hearing words; it's about being fully present in the moment and engaging with others on a deep, meaningful level.
Mindful listening is a transformative practice that can enrich your life and relationships. By honing this skill, you can connect more deeply with others, reduce stress, and contribute to a more harmonious world. Start your journey toward becoming a mindful listener today by trying this exercise with someone that also is willing and open minded to exploring and experiencing the profound impact it can have on your lives.
Mindful Communication Exercise
Every day we are involved in conversations. Listening with full attention and speaking with full authenticity can have a positive impact on relationships and foster fulfillment and deeper connection with others.
This can be a way to experiment with the feeling of what it is like to listen with full attention, to be listened to with full attention, and what it is like to speak mindfully.
When you are the Speaker, your job is to talk to the other person without being interrupted, for 2 minutes (this is flexible). Speak authentically- you don’t need to impress your partner. If you run out of things to say, that’s fine, sit in silence. Then, if you have something to say, continue speaking. The entire 2 minutes (or amount of time you decide on) belong to you.
When you are the Listener, your job is to listen with your full attention with an attitude of kindness and curiosity. Let the Speaker know you are “with” them nonverbally with head nods and eye contact. Don’t ask questions during these 2 minutes. Don’t lead or influence the speaker with your comments. If the Speaker runs out of things to say, give them the space for silence, and be available to listen. Every time your mind wanders away, gently bring it back to listening to them. It’s a focused attention practice.
Between turns be aware of what it feels like to listen without the option to talk. Also notice what it feels like to talk knowing that the other person is fully listening.
Choose a topic for the monologue if that feels helpful. It is not required, but can take the edge off nerves of thinking of what to talk about.
Follow-up questions to consider and/or discuss:
How was the experience?
What is it like to listen with your full attention?
How does it feel to be listened to by someone fully paying attention?
What is your experience of speaking mindfully?
What did you learn?
Tips to help you hone your mindful communication skills:
☮️ Stay focused on the person and situation in front of you- give someone your complete attention as they speak, and give them your full attention as you speak. Resist being distracted visually (or any other way.) Simply listen without glancing at your watch or device. Continually refocus your attention and stay engaged as long as it is warranted.
🌻When you want to interrupt someone, or jump in when they pause to get their next thought together, resist doing it. Instead, relax, notice the impulse, and listen.
❤️Notice if you have an initial judgment of what someone is saying. Be aware of your physical and mental reactivity or response. For instance, you feel you know what they are going to say, or you’ve heard this type of thing before. This attitude can prevent you from listening to what they are actually saying. Instead, listen with an open mind.
🙏When someone is angry, complaining, or being offensive, rather than reacting, opposing, or arguing, you can respond with, “I hear you,” or, “You might be right,” without commenting further. If necessary, take up the issue again when they are more receptive.
😀Pay attention to and be aware of the quality of your attention.
😍Notice if you feel more connected as a listener.
Want support in cultivating a mindfulness practice?