Mindfulness Articles

Mindful Communication

May 25, 2023, 

By Brenda Lindsay

Want to be successful and valued at work, in business, or at home? Be present with who you are with and who you are talking to. Click to read more.

Mindful communication involves being fully present and attentive during conversations, fostering understanding and empathy, a reduction in conflict and stress, and promoting effective and compassionate dialogue which in turn strengthens relationships.

Our minds are usually rethinking the past or wondering about the future. We are often waiting for our chance to speak, thinking of something interesting to say, or thinking about the impression we are making. We want presence from others, but sometimes we aren’t great at being present for them. 

A study by Killingsworth and Gilbert concluded that we spend 46.9% of our waking hours thinking about something other than what we are doing, lost in thought, on autopilot.  In other words, we are not present for almost half of the waking hours in our lives.

Being present just takes practice and patience, but you’ll learn to be present more often in conversation while reaping the benefits. Here are some practical tips to help you practice communicating mindfully:

1. Cultivate self-awareness: Take time to reflect on your own thoughts, emotions, and communication patterns. Notice any habitual reactions or biases that may hinder effective communication like advice-giving. Self-awareness allows you to consciously choose how you respond in conversations.

2. Practice mindfulness meditation: Develop greater empathy, self-awareness, and emotional regulation, which are all key to fostering mindful communication in the workplace. A mindfulness meditation practice of just twelve minutes per day has been shown to provide benefits according to Dr. Amishi Jha author of the Peak Mind.

3.     Practice active listening: Be fully present and engaged when someone is speaking to you. Give them your undivided attention, maintain eye contact, and avoid interrupting or formulating responses in your mind. Focus on understanding their perspective rather than preparing your own counterarguments.

4. Suspend judgment: Approach conversations with an open mind and suspend judgment. We can’t help it when judgment arises as a thought in the mind, but when we notice it and pause, we can choose how to proceed.  Recognize that everyone has their own unique experiences and perspectives. Seek to understand before forming opinions, making assumptions or giving advice.

5. Cultivate empathy and compassion: Put yourself in the other person's shoes and try to understand their feelings, needs, and motivations. Show genuine care and compassion for their experiences. This can help create a safe and supportive space for open dialogue.

6. Take a breath before responding: When you feel the urge to react or respond impulsively, pause and take a deep breath or notice other sensations in the body. This momentary pause allows you to get present and respond consciously rather than react instinctively. It gives you time to consider your words and respond mindfully. Aim for clarity, kindness, and honesty in your communication.

7. Seek common ground: Look for shared values, interests, or goals in conversations. Finding common ground can help bridge gaps and foster understanding. Focus on areas of agreement to build rapport and create a foundation for constructive dialogue.

8. Practice gratitude: Express appreciation for others' perspectives, ideas, or contributions. Cultivating gratitude can shift the tone of conversations and foster a positive and collaborative atmosphere.

9. Reflect on your conversations: Take time to reflect on your communication interactions. Consider what went well and what could have been improved. Use these reflections as learning opportunities to continually refine your mindful communication skills.

Remember, mindful communication is a practice that requires patience and consistent effort. Start by incorporating these tips into your everyday conversations or routines and gradually you will deepen your mindful communication skills over time.