Learning Focused Listening
In this post, we’ll talk about how mindful awareness impacts your everyday communications.
A few days ago, I had a powerful conversation with one of my clients. She moved to the area a few years ago, and she mentioned to me the biggest adjustment moving here was finding authentic conversation. Like-minded conversation. This made me curious, so I asked her frankly; What does unauthentic look like to you?
Her response surprised me. She said, “Honestly, people say “hey, how are you?” all day long, but how many of them actually stop and look at me while they are asking me? None. Not one. It’s so strange!”
While I couldn’t help but laugh at this situation I’ve seen many times myself, I had to also admit that yep, I’ve done it too. Though this is an example of a brief exchange, think about our everyday situations. The phone call you have with your mom/sister/brother/best friend, the conversation you share with your child after school. Are you really listening to them? Were you driving, enjoying having something to occupy your time? Maybe you were so ready to throw in your own experience, you missed the emotion as they were telling you their story. We’re all guilty of it, this other-focused listening. It’s ingrained in our daily conversations with the people we care about.
Before you let yourself feel guilty about this revelation of listening, be kind to yourself. We are all human, we are all BUSY people. It’s hard to slow down during the day, to make time and be present. The most wonderful point of all is we can get better.
With mindful awareness practice, we become better listeners and are able to be more present in the moment. We can hear our children tell us a story and know how proud they are of what they are explaining. We hear our employees express themselves and know how to address their concerns on a more personable level. Most importantly, we can be present with ourselves, and know how to help ourselves more effectively. Feeling tired and cranky? Acknowledge it, and give yourself a break. Listen to your body, your mind, and your surroundings to find that you are able to address things that before overwhelmed you, or got pushed to the sidelines.
So how do we battle this other-focused listening?
Grow your mindful awareness. Practicing 10 minutes a day improves concentration and the ability to keep information active in your mind, a function known as “working memory”. Your brain achieves this by becoming more efficient, you will find yourself able to focus more easily in the moment.
Where do you start? I’ll list some resources to help begin your mindfulness journey.
- Mindful Meditation Mix: Guided Exercises to help begin your practice.
- An amazing book focused on meditation and mindfulness.
If self-starting is more challenging for you and you would like a guiding hand for one-on-one practices, your health coach is a great resource. I always start out my sessions with a brief 5 minute mindfulness session, and it brings a refreshed energy to start our time together.
Now you’ve got the tools to begin, enjoy working towards becoming a more focused listener!