December is here, and the holiday season is upon us. As we wrap up the year and prepare for the holidays, our busy lives become even busier. It’s easy to become consumed by the demands of work, shopping, socializing, friends, and family.
Sometimes we forget to give the special people around us the time and attention they deserve. We become distracted by what we’re doing. We’re thinking about what needs to be done next, so we don’t listen well or give adequate thought to what we say. Stress levels rise, and feelings are hurt. The Joy of the Season is compromised.
But by being more aware of our interactions with others — by practicing mindful communication — these situations can be reduced or eliminated.
What is Mindful Communication?
Mindful communication is the practice of focusing awareness on the present moment, through mindful listening and mindful speaking. It involves calmly acknowledging and accepting the feelings, thoughts, and sensations of the speaker and yourself without judgment.
Instead of reacting emotionally in conversation, mindful communication guides us to respond with thought and compassion. As a result, communication exchanges improve and stress is reduced.
As we interact with others this holiday season, both at work and at home, let’s become aware of our communication.
Are we present, giving our full attention? Maybe we can stop composing that email or wrapping that present for a few minutes and offer our undivided attention to the person speaking.
How to communicate mindfully this holiday season
- Listen without interruption, and do not finish the speaker’s sentence or complete his thought.
- Observe the speaker’s body language and tone of voice to help you understand what he is thinking and feeling.
- Avoid looking at your watch or checking your phone; give the speaker your undivided attention.
- Pause to process what was said and give thought to how you respond.
You may be in a hurry with a lot to do, but if the other person feels truly heard, they will consider it a gift!
- Follow the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you would feel comfortable being spoken to in the same way, you are on the right track!
- Consider your tone of voice, facial expression, and body language as you speak.
- Be truthful and non-judgmental, and validate the feelings of others.
- Demonstrate kindness, compassion, courtesy, and respect.
You may be anxious to get back to what you were doing, but don’t let your impatience show.
It is my intention this holiday to reclaim the Joy of the Season in my communication with others. How about you?