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Learn & Practice

Tuesday Tip: Practice Mindful Listening

By The Healthy Minds Team

This week’s Tuesday Well-Being Tip is about directing your attention during a conversation.

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

When you’re speaking to a close friend, acquaintance, family member  or colleague, whether in person or on video chat, how often are you really listening to what they have to say? How often do you think your conversation-companion is really listening to you?

In these conversations, are both of you planning your next statement rather than giving each other the respect and attention that human interactions deserve?

As we’ve stated before, research shows that we aren’t paying attention almost half the time and this can be especially challenging when we have screens between our conversations, allowing our multitasking to take over.

The tip for today is to practice mindful listening. Giving people your full attention when they’re talking to you.

The key here is sustained attention:

  • Notice when you start thinking about what you’ll say next. 
  • Notice the impulse to jump in and comment before they’re done talking. 
  • Keep a light awareness on your own state of mind – just enough to see when these impulses arise – and give them the rest of your attention.
  • Listen to them as you would want them to listen to you. 
  • Make it a practice. 

You get the benefit of training your attention, of getting your mind operating at peak levels, and they get the benefit of someone who cares enough to pay attention. 

Need a refresher on focusing your attention and staying present? Try our Tour of the Senses meditation to cultivate directing your attention.

Get more practices and tips by downloading the Healthy Minds Program App, freely available thanks to the generosity of our donors wherever you get your apps.

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