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Mindful listening can help you improve your relationships significantly by removing mental barriers. Listening carefully to your partner, friend, family member, or colleague can improve your understanding of their needs and help you learn compassion for others and reduce frustration for both the sender and recipient.
Mindful Listening: Become a better listener with mindfulness
Mindful listening can REALLY make a difference in how connected and fulfilled we feel (here’s a video with a little more on that if you’re interested:). So, if you’re interested in becoming a better listener, here are some mindful listening techniques that can really help!
How often do you hear the phrase “you never listen to me” around? This is because listening has become something that many people are not good at. By not listening, we don’t connect with other people as deeply as we should.
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1. One of the reasons we don’t listen to people is because we don’t listen to ourselves. We are so busy and so distracted that it is easy to get lost in our own heads and keep moving to the next thought, task, and person.
Practice mindful listening: HEAR
- STOP – Stop whatever you are doing and give your full attention.
- HAVE FUN – Enjoy a breath as you choose to receive whatever is communicated to you – wanted or unwanted.
- ASK – Ask yourself if you really know what they mean, and if not, ask for clarification. Instead of making assumptions, bring openness and curiosity to the interaction. You will be surprised what you discover.
- REFLECT – Reflect on them what you heard. This tells them that you were really listening.
This article appeared in the February 2017 issue of Mindful magazine.
Mindful listening can help you listen effectively
2. If you’re not listening to others, part of the problem may be that you have something you need or want to say to the other. Your mind is busy formulating how you are feeling about the conversation. When you have trouble listening well, one of the main symptoms of this trait is when you interrupt people while they are talking.
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Asking frank questions that are genuinely interested in helping the speaker explore their feelings and experiences, rather than claiming their own ideas and advice, is a great way to keep the door open for an observant listener. Try to genuinely interest their questions the next time someone shares something meaningful with you instead of offering advice or talking about your own experiences with what they are going through at this moment in their life.
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Another sign is when you’ve already decided what to say while the person is still in the middle of speaking. You focus more on being heard than on listening. Mindful listening means that you don’t allow yourself to have a ready-made opinion about what the other person is saying until they’re through.
3. Mindful listening means paying attention to their words and emotions and trying to understand the other person. If you listen carefully, the other person can feel confident enough to express what they are thinking and feeling because they know they will be heard.
Someone who can be an attentive listener learns to focus on themselves first. Listening mindfully means that you can tune into yourself first and then hear others as they need to be heard.
Mindfulness allows you to be a more receptive listener
4. It allows you to show the other person more support. Being an attentive listener means you can focus on the conversation without reacting. You are in control of your thoughts by not anticipating the other person’s intentions before you have even had a chance to hear them. Mindful listening also helps you focus your emotions on the present with the person you are speaking to.
This is especially helpful when speaking to someone who you have had problems with in the past. Learning the art of mindful listening will allow you to focus on yourself first so you can focus on others. By understanding yourself, you can be more honest with other people. There are many advantages to being an attentive listener. When you do, you will find that people value you more in both your personal and professional lives.
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5. You will be able to motivate people and deal with conflicts more effectively. You will also be able to deal more effectively with stress that can arise when dealing with people who are difficult to communicate with.
Mindful listening will help clear what you’ve heard so that there are fewer misunderstandings at home and at work.