Are you a good listener?
We talk to people in many ways — in-person, texting, chat groups etc. — yet, how many of us can say we’re actually good listeners? Becoming an active listener is tough. We’re all so busy that when we find time to sit and engage with another human being, we may be talking more than we’re listening.
Turns out one of the keys to becoming a successful listener is listening to your body. For instance, when you move into a plank and notice an unusual sensation in your bicep, listen to your body and stop. Apply this logic to conversing with others.
For example, what message are you sending to your friend if you’re not facing them? And then take this a step further; if you’re stressed, know when to practice self-care (BodyRock+ Yoga, meditation, working out) as you would by stopping a workout if your bicep was hurting.
The point is being a good listener starts with listening to your body and making sure your body’s needs are taken care of; if you're tuned into your needs, it's easier to dial into a friend's!
The Art of Listening
Anything worthwhile — like building strong muscles — takes time, effort and repetition; listening is no exception. However, listening is a skill you want in your arsenal because it’s what forges strong relationships!
Friendships are about give and take.
A sign that your listening skills could improve is if you’re listening and forming a reply as the other person is talking; as this means you’re not listening at all.
Active listening looks like this:
Paying Attention: Looking directly at the person (if in-person), watching their body cues and listening to the tone of their voice are all signs you’re zoned into the other person.
Body Language: This is critical; listen with your body by facing the person talking. Nod along, lean in or make it known you’re paying close attention to what they have to say.
Not Interrupting: Nobody likes to be interrupted midway through a thought — unless there’s a justifiable reason — it makes you feel like what you’re saying is falling on deaf ears. The best thing to do is allow the person to finish then, provide your response.
Repeating What’s Said: One of the easiest ways to indicate you’re listening is by repeating back a summary of what was said.
Responding: When the floor is yours, be honest and to show respect for the other person — even if you disagree with their opinion.
Therefore, to be a good listener, we need to be present and allow the other person to communicate a thought before responding; this is the basis of good interpersonal skills!
This Exercise Makes You A Better Listener
The first step to becoming a good listener is to first tune into your body’s needs. Stretching is a great way to do this. For example, if you’ve spent all day at a computer then jumped into a conversation with a friend after work, you may find you have a rigid posture, or a tough time following along — which makes listening more difficult.
Stretching is good for you as it helps you release built-up tension in your body; even if you haven’t had a hectic day, you can still be tense. Think about when you first wake up; there is nothing better than that first stretch as your body comes alive.
Now, think about how much more relaxed you’d be if you stretched before a conversation? Although it isn’t likely you’ll stretch before every conversation, the point is finding time to stretch tension-prone areas (neck, hamstrings, shoulders, back) as this helps release stress and makes it easier to concentrate on conversations.
Stretching + Better Listening
Now that you know yet another benefit of stretching — it helps you listen better — how can you apply this newfound knowledge to your life without having to stretch before every chat?
An easy way to stretch your body and soothe your mind is by practicing yoga often. The word yoga means “the union of body and mind,” which helps encourage relaxation, so cue up some BodyRock+ Yoga and make it a habit! For best results, try doing yoga in the morning after you wake up or before bed to clear your mind and see if this helps you listen more effectively.
Stretching is Good for You
We all strive to have healthy relationships with friends, colleagues, family or strangers, and one of the best ways to show interest in a conversation is to listen. Unfortunately, listening is an interpersonal skill that doesn’t come naturally, so to become good at you have to work at it. One such way to improve your listening skills is to get rid of the stress (body and mind) by doing some BodyRock+ Yoga frequently to be more present within yourself, which means you'll listen better and have stronger relationships because of it!