6 Ways to Stop Arguing and Start Listening
Explore ways to lay down the swords and work on our listening skills when faced with a potential argument.
Do you find yourself in a lot of arguments lately? Stormy weather emotionally? You’re not alone, so for this week’s Healthy Habit, let’s explore some ways to lay down the swords and work on our listening skills when faced with a potential argument. Here’s how.
- Prep your body. Create a calm facial expression—your brain will follow, studies on facial expression suggest, and take a deep breath, which will allow your brain to better deal with anxiety and incoming stimuli.
- Balance and energize your throat chakra. This chakra—around the mouth, neck and ears—is associated with good communication skills, such as authentic speech, listening and harmonious expression. Drink warm herbal teas, and consider listening to meditations or sound healing that is specific to the throat chakra.
- Try a magic phrase. “You may be right,” works wonders, writes Pat LaDouceur, Ph.D. on MentalHelp.net. “With this Aikido-like sidestep, you are not agreeing that the other person is right. You’re only acknowledging that there might be something to their point of view, and implying that you’ll consider what they said.” I’d add, next you need to put on your big-kid britches and at least consider the other person’s perspective. Other magic phrases include “I hear you,” “I understand,” and “I’m sorry.”
- Be genuinely curious. Go into Sherlock Holmes mode and learn absolutely everything you possibly can about the other person and their situation. Might you find something surprising, revealing, explanatory, or ideally, some common ground to work with?
- Try the Shunya Mudra. This hand gesture is often recommended for earache, but can be associated with listening in general, and can also help you open your heart chakra. To do it, stretch out your fingers, then bend your middle finger back toward the base of your thumb, and hold it down with your thumb. Do this for 10 minutes a day, if possible. (Is it ironic to anyone else that you’re holding down your middle finger?!)
- Let go of my Ego. “Through being ‘right,’ you feel superior and through feeling superior you strengthen your sense of self. In reality, of course, you are only strengthening the illusion of ego.” –Eckhart Tolle. Ouch, Eckhart. But that’s something to think about.
Want more? Try our 19 Affirmations for Listening.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles. Her latest book is Hawaii’s Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!, a science and natural history “gross out” for young readers.