Listening is not just about hearing, but involves understanding, remembering and responding. It allows us to not only open up our ears but our minds and hearts too.
Much of the time we think we are listening, but we are actually just waiting for others to finish speaking so we can talk. We are often too eager to say what’s on our mind without paying enough attention to other people’s words.
In times of high stress when our lives are becoming more and more chaotic, dedicating time to active listening is key to us thriving in many aspects of life. Ensuring you communicate effectively can help develop healthy relationships and solve many modern-day issues. Follow our tips to improve listening and the benefits they offer.
Develop your listening skills
- Avoid distractions: Trying to share your attention between the speaker and other distractions can disturb the quality of your listening. Multi-tasking might seem easy but you are less likely to be retaining the information given, it can be demotivating for the speaker and as a result make them less likely to involve themselves in a conversation with you again.
- Don’t interrupt: You may have heard many times in childhood how ‘it’s rude to interrupt’ and this is relevant through adulthood too. It can give the speaker a negative impression of you, making you seem arrogant. Relax your thoughts and wait your turn to speak.
- Maintain eye contact and don’t face away: This is another lesson you learn in school teachers call their pupils out for looking out the window asking: ‘Is there something more interesting outside?” Before an interview, you are taught to keep eye contact with the speaker as it suggests that you are engaged and interested. Show the speaker they have your full attention.
- Once you have grasped these, be focused but try to stay relaxed: You can give your full attention and show interest in the speaker but still be calm to create a comfortable and meaningful conversation.
Benefits of listening to others
- Taking time away from digital screens: It helps you to balance real-world life and nurture deeper relationships. Staring at a screen all day can also cause eye discomfort and joint pain, taking a break will help aleviate the severity of stress and anxiety.
- A problem shared is a problem halved: Listening can help someone share their problems and destress, easing anxiety from the built-up of emotions in your head and increasing happiness.
- Maintaining bonds in relationships: Many relationships are impacted by lack of communication. Talking to friends and partners about issues you are experiencing can open up the opportunity to solve them.
- Listening carefully to someone can lead to fewer issues: As you are more focused and have a good understanding on what was said, this means less time is wasted in our busy lives and problems are more likely to be resolved.
Benefits of listening to music
- Our emotional response to music is conditioned: If you listen to music at an event, when you hear that song again at a different time it’s likely to take you back to this specific situation, stimulating an emotional feeling. This helps with memory as you are unlikely to forget this event and emotion. Listening to music can also strengthen learning and help you recall information better.
- Music is medicine: Music can impact your mood as it decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body giving us that feel good feeling.
- Songs trigger emotions: They can be empowering bringing excitement and energy or can be relaxing to support the mind and mental conditioning. So make sure you turn it up, sing along to optimise the benefits!
- Different sounds: Some white noises are calming and can help you sleep and destress. Follow this link for a bank of unique, relaxing sounds to help you sleep.
The listener is the benefiter, they are the ones that retains the information and learns in the process. Use sounds as a form of selfcare to improve mood, destress and become a more rounded individual.
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Author – Lily Scales