How to Improve Your Life With Mindful Listening

Do you find yourself zoning out during conversations and totally blanking on everything you just heard? You aren’t alone – plenty of people don’t listen very carefully.

When we’re listening to others, it’s easy to tune out and focus on ourselves, distractions, and other issues. But this kind of listening can be detrimental, and it can affect your relationships with everyone in your life.

Instead of letting your own thoughts take first place when you’re listening to others, you can try a practice called mindful listening. Mindful listening encourages you to focus on what you’re hearing, helping you connect with others and improve other areas of your own life in the process.

What Is Mindful Listening?

Mindful listening is based on the practice of mindfulness. When you’re practicing mindfulness, you’re working on paying attention to the present moment – you’re fully present and aware of what you’re experiencing. And that’s almost exactly what mindful listening is.

According to Psychology Today, mindful listening means being fully present when interacting with other people. Instead of tuning out their words and stories by thinking about other tasks, events, or ideas, you’re practicing mindful listening when you pay close attention to others as they speak and interact with you.

Unfortunately, we tend to only focus on pieces of what we hear that pertain specifically to us – or, put simply, we’re usually pretty selfish when listening. So, mindful listening aims to correct that selfishness by listening in new ways and changing old habits. Mindful listening requires being aware of others and communicating during the conversation, responding to all that we hear whether or not it directly relates to us. When practicing mindful listening, you’ll both hear and understand what others are saying to you, taking care to show interest.

The Benefits of Mindful Listening

Listening more mindfully and attentively to others can certainly benefit your relationships with others. But what might surprise you is just how much it can benefit your own life too.

When you put mindful listening into practice, you’ll reap benefits that include the following:

How to Practice Mindful Listening

The practice of mindful listening is just that – an exercise that requires practice. Because you’re so used to listening only as it suits you (just like any other person!), you’ll need to practice paying close attention and responding with verbal and visual clues.

To practice mindful listening, try putting these tips into practice when you’re conversing with someone:

Conclusion

Remember, the key to mindful listening is to hear what another person is saying. Rather than thinking about what your response will be when they’ve stopped talking, make sure to simply listen to what they are saying. You can then allow yourself to digest how you feel about what is being said. And when you reply, you’ll have a better, more thoughtful response.

Like with anything in life, mindful listening takes time, and will not necessarily be something that comes easy overnight. However, the benefits of making this a priority will undeniably help with successful relationship building both at work, home, and within your circle of friends.