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In this month's article, Listening, I ask you to think about the kind of listener you are as well as consider whether the people in your life listen to you in ways that matter. It is not always easy to be a good listener. Lots of things get in the way. Yet we all appreciate when we are heard so it is definitely worth the effort .
In Tips for Saying NO instead of YES, I suggest considering what works for you as far as how you use your time and energy. Knowing when to say NO is healthy, and for some of us, takes willpower and practice. We may not want to disappoint someone or miss out on something, so we say YES when it would be better for us to say NO. With a finite amount of mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical energy we need to recognize when saying NO is the right response.
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EVERYONE wants to be heard. Listening to someone is a gift. Unfortunately, many of us are neither careful nor attentive listeners. Added to that is the stunning truth that we only retain a small percent of what we actually hear. And as far as the quality of listening that we do, we need to ask ourselves, Are we listening to understand the person's point of view?" Or, "Are we listening just to respond?"
There are many variables that impact our listening. Among the long list are: abbreviated time; loud and distracting environments; our internal conversations; preoccupations; attitudes; emotional states; interruptions; fatigue; boredom; wandering minds; cultural differences; language, and beliefs. Also, we can ask ourselves how well we pay attention to the subtle and nuanced information that comes up that is often overlooked but VERY important.
One thing is clear. Each of us can become better listeners by becoming more CONSCIOUS and CONSCIENTIOUS when we listen.
We need to determine if we are ready to listen, to focus and pay attention. We can clear our mind and breathe and be present with this person. Even if we have experienced frustration in previous conversations with this same person, we can instruct ourselves to listen for something new or different.
Most of the time our purpose as a listener is to allow the person who is speaking to be heard, to talk something through, in a trusted and safe environment, not to "fix" the situation. We are there to receive what the person wants/needs to say to us and let them know we are "there" with them. In doing so, we can consider body language and the messages we send nonverbally. Sometimes it is helpful to nod, lean forward, look as if we are listening, even say "mmmm" ("uh huh" etc.), injecting comments when the time is right, and adding a summary to convey that we understand.
Often without knowing it, we give indications that we are not really there. Rolling eyes, sighing in frustration, fidgeting, talking too fast or too loud, checking e-mails, texting, or looking around the room to see who walked in, are among many behaviors which give the impression that we are really not listening. Even if we heard what was said, the impression we give is that the person, or what he or she said, is just not that important. Remember, the interaction is in service to the speaker, not to the listener.
As a listener we can reflect back. We can ask ourselves, "Are we more concerned with 'being heard' and 'giving our own opinion' than listening?" "Do we come to the situation with a pre-set agenda?" Listening is not about being quiet until you have a chance to break in and get your thought across. Nor is it about our need to "impress" the person. We can ask ourselves, "Is it wise/helpful to add something now or shall I wait and ask questions later?" We need to be sure whatever we add is really on point or regards a clarification of what the person is saying and not just about a need that we have.
We can also resist the urge to interrupt or finish someone's sentences. When we interrupt we deny the speaker the chance to fully express what they want to say. So, what can be helpful is to pause before responding.
As a listener, we need to try to be as authentic as possible, also staying away from offering our opinion unless we are asked to give it. Being a trusted listener means staying away from judging the person or what they share with us.
It takes practice and most people appreciate few things more than having someone they can really talk to.
A Good Daily Habit
Being of Service
We can ask ourselves, "How can I be of service? What is an action I can take to improve the world in some way?"
We are each here to share our unique gifts in the world.
We can open ourselves to give from our hearts. In serving others at the soul level we are also serving ourselves.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Tips for Saying NO instead of YES
Why is it so difficult to say the word "no" instead of "yes?" This is a challenge many of us face daily. We're asked to join a committee or spearhead a new project, and although we already feel we have little-to-no time for those activities which energize us, we sometimes relent and accommodate. Afterwards, we notice that we can feel overwhelmed, frustrated, guilty, or resentful. And all because we did not listen to our inner voice which may have been cautioning us against saying yes, but we either did not hear it or chose not to listen.
Saying no doesn't mean that we are being rude, selfish, or unkind. (Well, it may; it depends on how we say it!)
Each of us has our own issues related to why we have a tough time saying "No." And truthfully, if we don't learn to say (and mean) "No", we use our energy in ways that can contribute to our unhappiness.
Try these simple yet effective tips for saying "No" as a way of taking care of yourself:
Be direct, such as, "No, that doesn't work for me."
Be polite, such as, "Thanks for asking. As interesting as it sounds, I am going to decline."
Avoid offering all sorts of reasons why you cannot accommodate.
Remember that it is better to say "No" than to say "Yes" and be angry or resentful.
If you feel momentarily trapped, take a breath and say, "That is interesting. It is nice that you thought of me. I need to think about it."
If you don't feel trapped, get to "No" sooner than later or you will just be adding to your stress.
TODAY Show (NBC), and HLN.
Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated appearances.
Sixty and Me Interviews
Four interviews with Dr. Atkins, conducted by Margaret Manning, covering the following topics: stress and worry, care-giving, downsizing, and friendships.
http://sixtyandme.com/elderly-care-how-to-be-a-caregiver-while-taking-care-of-your-own-life-interview-with-dr-dale-atkins/, and http://sixtyandme.com/how-to-deal-with-loneliness-in-retirement-interview-with-dr-dale-atkins/
Experience Life Magazine
The Cares of Caregiving, by Jon Spayde. Interview.
I hope you enjoy my chapter, "Family Involvement and Counseling," in the new text, Introduction to Aural Rehabilitation, Second Edition.
Edited by Raymond H. Hull, and published by Plural Publishing.
I invite you to visit my website to access archives of articles and interviews on line.
My sincere thanks to website developer, Barry Brothers, who, along with Carina Ramirez Cahan, brought vision and positive, creative energy to the site. Do take a look at Barry's work here: http://www.thelimulusgroup.com/bb and consider him for your business, development, design and communication needs.
|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is filled
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
Once again thank you for continuing to read
and talk about Sanity Savers: Tips for
Women to Live a Balanced Life.
WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY
CRISIS IN THIS
COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students and community corps members to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in year-long mentoring relationships. Jumpstart also partners with families, preschool centers, institutions of higher education, community groups and a variety of other groups and individuals to make certain that every stakeholder in a child's life is working to provide them with a high quality early education.
Jumpstart's proven curriculum helps children develop the language, literacy, and socio-emotional skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late.
Please help to spread the word about the mission of Jumpstart and the remarkable strides being made in low income neighborhoods every day. If you can, contribute by clicking on www.jstart.org/donate
www.jstart.org/donate. Over one million children live below the poverty level in the U.S. This shameful situation must change. Each of us has a responsibility to repair our world. Let us eliminate the 2-year achievement gap that exists between children from low income and those from middle income neighborhoods when they begin kindergarten!
to learn more about Jumpstart
initiatives - such as Read for the Record, which mobilizes millions of children and adults to celebrate literacy in an effort to break the world record for the most people reading the same book on the same day. Join us on October 21, 2014, and be one of the many people across the country who will unite in big cities, small towns, and everywhere in between to read the children's book Bunny Cakes, by bestselling author and illustrator, Rosemary Wells.
"The Best Way is to lose yourself in the service of others."
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, parenting, aging well, managing stress,
work transitions, family connections and healthy
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
A Practical, Helpful Exploration of the Intimate and Complex Bond between Female Siblings From the
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works