2021.05.27

Active Listening for Healthier Connections

Have you ever walked outside and suddenly became confronted with an overwhelming amount of noise? Just think about it, we have cars, trains, and many other objects that simply make noise, including people, of course.  Life can be noisy and while that’s okay, sometimes it’s still good to find a moment to escape from it all.

One of my remedies has been nature.

To me, getting out into nature is a way to shake away some of the tension built up from everyday routines and re-energize. On one recent trip I decided to be intentional about practicing Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. It was simple; after spending some time hiking and taking in the view, all I did was sit down and listen.

I walked away with a sense of peace within myself, and by listening to nature without judgement or expectation, I felt as though I gained a deeper connection to it as well.

Allow me to reach a bit and say that not only can listening to nature be revitalizing, but listening to each other with care and intention can help us form better bonds.

Maybe you know this, but there is already a term for this kind of exercise: active listening.

The meaning is fairly straight-forward, but just for the record active listening is a technique of “careful listening and observation of non-verbal cues”, that “keeps you engaged with your conversation partner in a positive way”.

There are many skills that we can use when we practice listening actively, but most sources have narrowed them down to six:

  1. Pay attention
  2. Withhold judgement
  3. Reflect
  4. Clarify
  5. Summarize
  6. Share

Active listening is different from regular listening in that we remain open to what someone else is saying, and although it’s great to acknowledge what is being said, we remain attentive and give the other person space to articulate their opinions.  We don’t listen with the purpose of responding, we listen with the purpose of truly understanding.

I believe we can learn so much through active listening, and even in a noisy world, we have the ability to form business and personal relationships which are built on mutual trust and support effective communication.

Veritas Coach

Chelsea Branch

Born and raised in Texas, USA, Chelsea from an early age took an interest in learning about people of different cultural backgrounds. After studying International Relations in college, she sought out various opportunities to travel and work in different settings. Inspired by the history and culture of Japan, she decided to move to broaden her career in the summer of 2018. Currently, her hobbies include cooking, hanging out in neat coffee shops, design, and continuing to study Japanese! She loves feeling settled in Japan, spending time with friends, and believes that every moment is a precious opportunity to learn something new.