Mental Health Awareness week, being kind is the theme. There has never been a better time to be kind. It can be as simple as just listening to someone: it costs nothing but gives a great boost to mental health.
Why does listening help with mental health?
Think of when you were young and something really exciting had happened. It is likely your second thought would be to find someone to share your experience with. As social beings this is obviously one of our hard wired traits. It is healthy for us to share our thoughts, ideas and feelings without instant judgement, challenge or interruptions.
Listen with kindness and generosity
1. Be nonjudgmental.
Let go of your own opinions. This doesn’t mean you need to agree with everything the person says; it’s about letting them know you care, that they matter.
2. Be attentive
Put down your phone, sit down and decide to set aside time.
3. Be focussed
Soak in the words as well as the larger picture. “Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart.” Kim Warchol
4. Be afirming
Show you are listening without interrupting, confirming with encourasging sounds or nods if face to face.
5. Be accepting of silence.
Be prepared to wait and allow the silence, there is nothing wrong with it
6. Be acurate when feeding back
Use their words and paraphrase it based on what they siad not what you think. Be nonjudgmental and respectful and give the person time to respond. Try and avoid using a set phrase, make it personal based on what the said
7. Be there for later
Check with the person to see if they have further questions or comments. Set up another time to meet if needed.
8. Be you
In all of it be the real you and be kind.