Listening seems like a natural skill that we all can do, however not everyone remains present the whole time someone is talking. In fact, our minds tend to wander when someone else talking and many of us start to think of our response.
Our emotions can also interfere with our ability to listen. Sometimes many of us misinterpret what someone is saying because we think that they saying something hurtful or uncalled for. Thanks to evolution our mind is always looking for threats.
That’s why a technique called ‘mindful listening’ is the ultimate remedy. It encourages us to take a step back from our preconceived notions and focus fully on what the person is saying without judging them.
Here are 4 ways to practice mindful listening:
The Art of Mindful Listening
1) Are you preparing your answer before they’ve finished talking?
The first bad habit you need to catch yourself doing is when you prepare your answer before they’ve finished speaking. Many of us do this naturally because we want to avoid an awkward silence.
Instead, try to be more spontaneous and take your time when you decide to speak. Just focus on their words and what they’re actually saying without judging and when it’s your turn to speak, take your time and let the words come to you.
2) Getting distracted
This is a big one, especially when we find ourselves a little bored in the conversation. Our minds wander all the time. It’s almost natural. Instead, use mindfulness and try to focus on the present moment.
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Focus on the words they are speaking and when your mind drifts, simply return your focus back to what they are saying. It’s a great mindfulness practice to consistently do every day.
3) Stop judging
When we listen to others speak, we naturally put labels and judgments on what they’re saying. Instead, try to catch yourself when you do so and put an end to it. Just let your mind take the words in without putting a judgment on them.
4) Don’t try to achieve anything
When we have a conversation, we tend to want a certain outcome to occur. This can mean that everything we hear we attach our preconceived notions about how we things should do. The result? We’re not truly listening to what the other person is saying. Let go of having an end result and simply “be” in the conversation. Not only will you enjoy the conversation, but you’ll probably get more out of it too.
If you implement these 4 tips in your daily conversations, you’ll become more likable, friendly and better able learn from every conversation you have.
Check out Hack Spirit's eBook on How to Use Buddhist Teachings for a Mindful, Peaceful and Happy Life.
Here's what you'll learn:
• How and why to be mindful: There are many simple exercises you can do to bring a mindful attitude to quotidian activities such as eating breakfast, walking the dog, or sitting on the floor to stretch.
• How to meditate: Many beginning meditators have a lot of questions: How should I sit? How long should I meditate? What if it feels awkward or uncomfortable or my foot falls asleep? Am I doing it wrong? In this book, you’ll find simple steps and explanations to answer these questions and demystify meditation. (And no, you’re not doing it wrong).
• How to approach relationships: This section offers tips for interacting with friends and enemies alike and walks you through a loving kindness meditation.
• How to minimize harm: There is a lot of suffering in the world; it’s best for everyone if we try not to add to it. Here you’ll read about the idea of ahimsa (non-harming) and how you might apply it to your actions.
• How to let things go: As Buddhism teaches, excessive attachment (whether we’re clinging to something or actively resisting it) all too often leads to suffering. Practitioners of mindfulness meditation find peace in letting go and accepting things as they are in the moment.
Check it out here.