Mindfulness Helps Us Learn to Be Better Listeners

Being a good listener

Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. Too often, we focus on the past or what will happen in the future. Mindfulness helps you stay right here and now. It can be challenging to do that. However, mindfulness meditation can help. You can also work on being more mindful by doing things like yoga or meditative walks. You can talk to a therapist about different ways to practice mindfulness. Another aspect of the practice that is really helpful in relationships is a mindful listener. When you stay in the present moment, you can focus on what the other person is saying to you. Here's how mindfulness can help with active listening.

Be present in a conversation

We have many conversations during the day, whether they are via text, phone, or in person. Mindfulness offers a great strategy to use when you're having a conversation. When you're talking to somebody on the phone or in person, focus on what the other person is saying. Before you think about how you will respond, it's good to hear the entirety of what the individual is telling you. That way, you're not going to make assumptions about their point of view. Wait until the person is finished, and use your mindfulness strategies to focus on each word as it comes out of their mouth. For some people, it's challenging to want to jump in or interject. For people who have attention problems (like those with ADHD), it can be a serious challenge for them to refrain from interrupting. You can curb that impulse using mindfulness techniques. Remember that an active listener takes practice.

What is an active listener?

It may sound like a strange term: "active listener." Listening seems like a passive thing. You're sitting there hearing what somebody is saying. However, listening takes a lot of effort. Much of the time, we're jumping at the chance to interject and say what we need to get out. Listening is a strategic action where you're focusing on what the other person is trying to tell you. You're being empathetic, compassionate, and giving to the relationship. People want to be heard, and being an active listener shows that individual that you care about them. You're hearing them, and after their words are out, it's your turn to speak. One way to practice active listening is to use a mindfulness technique. For people who have attention problems, listening can be difficult. You can use some tricks such as having a fidget toy in your hand while you're listening so that it might be easier to sit still. Perhaps you focus on the person's hands as they talk. You can use whatever technique works to stay focused so that you can hear their words.

Why does listening matter so much?

Listening matters because once you understand what somebody is telling you, and you can give a thoughtful response. Listening in a mindful way can enhance the value of that relationship. Whether you are talking to a coworker, a loved one, or a friend, listening can deepen the intimacy of that relationship. When you're talking to your friend or loved one, you may discuss personal topics. They want to feel heard when they are revealing vulnerable information. The more you listen, the more likely that person is going to share stories with you that are meaningful to them. Your listening is significant. With a coworker, hearing them will help you understand who that person is and help you work better together. You might be able to come up with productive solutions when you have a conflict with a coworker. That can be achieved by listening to them before responding with your take on the matter.

Listening is key in conflict resolution.

When you have a conflict with someone, no matter who it is, it can be painful. You may not want to listen to them because they hurt you or made you mad. That's understandable, but there's something you can do to help the situation. If you can do some mindfulness breathing exercises before you talk to them and discuss these emotional topics, it will help. When you take the emotions out of it and listen to what that person is telling you, it's possible to come to a middle ground.

Learning listening skills in therapy

Online therapy is an excellent place to gain mindfulness listening skills. You can speak with a therapist online at a company like BetterHelp. Mindfulness can be challenging for some people, but it is an invaluable skill for learning to know yourself and deepen interpersonal relationships. Going to therapy is a wonderful way to get to know yourself and better your relationships with others. 

ABOUT AUTHOR: Marie Miguel
Marie MiguelMarie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.
Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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