Attentive listening benefits the physical and psychological health of both listeners and speaker. “We feel important when someone takes the time to hear us out,” says Rebecca Shafir, a communications expert. “Having a confidant can decrease blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, and boost self-esteem.”
Listening strengthens relationships and has a powerful influence on health and well-being. Also positron emission tomography (PET) scans reveal blood flow increases to many parts of the brain—invigorating the mind of the listener.
To be a better listener:
Quiet your mind. Internal noise levels mask what others are saying.
Talk less. Multitasking—speaking and listening—doesn’t work.
Don’t interrupt. This implies your words are more important.
Forego unwanted advice. Ask permission to give your opinion.
Resist telling your own story. This shifts focus away from the speaker.
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