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Mindful Listening Exercise

Mindful Listening Exercise

How often do you truly listen to people when they are speaking?

A simple mindful listening exercise can lead to revelations about how people communicate with each other. Most people have good Listening Quoteintentions when they are attempting to listen to someone speaking to them. They want to listen. They want to understand what the other individual is trying to relate. However, thoughts in the mind get in the way. Instead of listening when being spoken to, the mind wanders off in infinite directions. These thoughts subsequently distract the listener from understanding the message being delivered. Here are a few examples of what can interfere with true listening:

  • Worrying about all the things that need to be accomplished today
  • Thinking about how to respond to the current conversation
  • Making judgements about what the other individual is saying
  • Being distracted by events occurring simultaneously in the environment around us
  • Jumping to conclusions before contemplating what is being said

What are the consequences of not effectively listening?

There are a multitude of consequences that result from not listening to others when they are speaking. Here are a few of the possible consequences that come to mind:

  • Lack of understanding of the other’s point of view.
  • Forgetting the name of a person after they have been introduced
  • Feeling anxious over how to respond to what is being said
  • Loss of the ability to be empathetic
  • Jumping to the wrong conclusion
  • Making wrong assumptions
  • Not being open to new possibilities, opinions, and alternatives
  • Causing the speaker to feel unheard and not understood
  • Loss of the ability to be present in the moment

What is mindful listening?Mindful Listening

Mindful listening is the ability to listen right here and right now. Right now I am being with this person and l am listening to them. It is the ability to focus on what is being communicated. It is the awareness that there is no other place to be at this moment in time.

 

The best way to understand mindful listening is to directly experience mindful listening. Here is an easy exercise you can do to experience mindful listening.

Mindful Listening Exercise

  1. Take 30 seconds to focus on your breathing. Pay attention to the air as it passes in during inspiration and as it passes out during expiration.
  2. Do this with a partner. Allow the partner to talk without interruption about whatever he or she wants to relate for about 5 minutes.
  3. When you are the listener, just simply listen.
  4. Do not comment on what is being said.
  5. Do not answer them.
  6. Do not get into a conversation.
  7. Indicate that you are paying attention through direct eye contact
  8. You can use other non-verbal cues such as nodding, smiling, etc.
  9. Notice your own impulse to speak.
  10. Notice if you mind wanders.
  11. After the speaker is finished, the listener can tell the speaker what they just heard in order to see if the communication was understood.
  12. If you did this exercise with a partner, now swap roles.

Here are some questions to reflect upon after completing the exercise.

  1. What was it like to just listen and focus all you awareness on the person speaking?
  2. Were you able to remember better what the speaker communicated with active mindful listening compared to what you usually do?
  3. If your mind wandered off to other internal thoughts while you were trying to listen, how easy was it to refocus your awareness back to listening to the speaker?
  4. Were you able to listen without judging what was being communicated?
  5. If you were the speaker, how did it feel to have someone’s undivided attention?

Listening most basic need

Mindfulness Breathing Exercise

Mindfulness Breathing Exercise

Here is a simple mindfulness breathing exercise that only takes 5 minutes to complete.

I perform this exercise several times a day. It can be done in almost any situation. The beauty of it is that nobody will even know you are doing it.

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  1. Breath in slowly through your nose for 10 seconds and then breath out slowly through your mouth for 15 seconds.
  2. As you breath in and out focus on the air passing into your nostrils and out of your mouth. Alternatively, you may focus on your chest wall expanding as you breath in and contracting as you breath out.
  3. If your mind drifts away during the exercise, gently redirect yourself back to your breathing.
  4. After 5 minutes, you may return to your normal activity. If you want you can do this exercise for more than 5 minutes.

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Why do I do this exercise?

  • To reduce anxiety or irritability
  • To focus my mind prior to beginning a new task
  • To rejuvenate my body with energy
  • To take a break from working on a project
  • To take a moment to remember to approach each encounter with my patients with integrity, purpose, and empathy
  • To remind myself how precious life is and how wonderful it is to be alive

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Practice this mindfulness breathing exercise right now!

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Please leave a comment on your experience performing this exercise or any other questions or comments that you have.

 

Bao Bao the Panda Bear Being Present in the Moment

Bao Bao the Panda Bear Being Present in the Moment

Things you can learn from a panda bear.

I was at the National Zoological Park in Washington D.C. today. I saw a great example of a panda bear being present in the moment. I was at the panda bear exhibit and was watching Bao Bao, one of the panda bears, eating his bamboo. Despite being surrounded by about a hundred onlookers, Bao Bao was totally absorbed in eating bamboo. Bao Bao was not worried about what his observers were thinking. Bao Bao was not self conscious. Bao Bao was just focused on eating. There were no other thoughts present in Bao Bao’s mind.

Here are the things that I learned from Bao Bao’s actions today that I think all of us should incorporate into our daily lives:

  1. Focusing on one thing at a time
  2. Enjoying the experience fully
  3. Being in a state of peacefulness
  4. Letting others experience our magnificence
  5. Bringing joy and excitement to those around us

Here is Bao Bao:

Try incorporating these 5 simple ideas into your life each and every day!

Doing versus Being

Doing versus Being

DoingMultitasking

Human beings are consumed with doing. From the moment humans awake, till the time humans go to sleep, the mind constantly directs us to do things. Taking out the trash, balancing the check book, checking our email, watching television, talking to our friends or family members, completing endless tasks at work,  and taking our kids to their activities, are just a few of the infinite possible tasks on our daily schedules. For some, the thought stream is very logical and orderly. For others, the mind chatter is like a pinball bouncing randomly all over the place. What is true for all human beings, however,  is that the compelling thoughts to constantly keep doing things are incessant. I have patients tell me all that they are unable to sleep because they cannot seem to turn off the mind chatter. For the younger generation, it is even worse. They multitask! It is no longer good enough to focus on one thing at a time. Now this generation is attmpting to focus on as many things as possible simultaneously. They listen to music, text their friends, complete their homework assignments, look at their Facebook posts and messages, and Instagram their friends all at the same time. If they are unable to multitask, they believe they are inferior to their peers and consider themselves to be failures.

Is this healthy? A recent scientific study  revealed that multitasking lowered a patient’s IQ more than marijuana or alcohol. This incessant compulsion to do as much as possible, both in our personal and professional lives, is leading to more harm than good. Burnout at work is increasing. Job satisfaction is declining. Face to face communication is decreasing at an alarming rate resulting in the lost of direct human contact. With the advent of smart phones, I have witnessed families sitting at a table in a restaurant where each member is on their respective phones and not one word of conversation takes place throughout the entire meal. Do you believe this can be healthy? Doing has become an addiction. Is there an alternative?

BeingCalmness

Being is focusing your awareness on the present moment. Focusing on the here and now. This focus can take place in many ways.  For example, you can be aware of the taste of your food, the speed at which you walk, the rate at which you are breathing, the state of your current emotions,  the sounds that surround you, the words someone is speaking to you, and the sensations which are occurring in your body. The state of being is a state of acceptance. It is a state of accepting what is happening in the current moment. It is a state in which things are neither labeled “good” or “bad”.  Things just are. When we are present in the moment, fear and anxiety cannot exist. How can one move from a state of doing to a state of being? A simple way to learn how to live in a state of being is to perform mindfulness exercises each and every day. The more time spent in exercising mindfulness, the easier it will be to live in a state of being. The paradox is that if you live in a state of being then the quality of the things you DO each day will be transformed.

Have a wonderful day being!

Welcome

Welcome

Hey everyone. I am David and I have a passion about creating peace, contentment, joy, and happiness in my life as well as in the lives of all human beings.

I am a family physician for over 24 years. I work with patients every day who seem unhappy, anxious, unfulfilled, depressed, and miserable. Somewhere along the way, they have lost their passion for living. Their purpose in life has disappeared.image

They are caught in the daily “rat race” of working in jobs they hate in order to make money to pay their debts. Some even work 2 or 3 jobs just to survive. Many are working so hard that there is no time to spend with their family. Patients tell me daily how irritable they have become. They feel guilty about how they speak and treat their spouses and kids. They are unable to sleep. Unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, and excessive drinking have become a way of life for many who are seeking a temporary escape from the realities of life.

As a result, many patients are have developed chronic disease states such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Most patients are so consumed by their life responsibilities that they find there is little or no time for exercise or enjoyment of life. They never go outside for a leisurely walk, run, or bike ride. They never take time to feel the warm sun on their skin, feel a spring breeze on their face, hear the birds chirping, or smell the fragrance of fresh cut grass.

Instead, they are consumed with answering emails for clients, meeting deadlines for projects, and taking care of their home responsibilities. At the end of the day, they crash into bed feeling exhausted and can not believe that the insanity will all start over again the next day. For those who continue down this path, heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, peripheral artery disease, and cancer await. Instead of enjoying their retirement pursuing their hobbies and enjoying their grandchildren, they are visiting cardiologists, pulmonologists, endocrinologists, neurologists, and oncologists. They are on so many medications that it is difficult to distinguish what symptoms are a side effect of their medications versus their disease processes. The cost of these medications are staggering making it difficult for them to survive. Some cannot afford to retire and work till their bodies eventually give out.

I ask myself if there is a better way to assist my patients to become healthy and whole again. Are there other ways, to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression, and medical illnesses besides prescribing medications? How can I get patients to start eating healthy, to start exercising, and to take time to pursue their hobbies and passions in order to restore their health, their happiness, and the vigor.
Is there another way?

Over the course of my life, there has been a recurring message that keeps presenting itself to me. The message is simply to live in the moment. Be present now. Do not live in the past and do not worry about the future. I have discovered that when I accept rather than resist life, I experience peacefulness, happiness, fulfillment, and contentment. Anxieties and fears wash away. Guilt and regret about the past disappear. In its place, passion, aliveness, and joy occur.
So why have I created this website?

There are many paths to achieve this state of life. However, the most effective path that I have found is through Mindfulness. The aim of this site is to provide resources and avenues for learning mindfulness. This website will serve as a portal to discover how to use mindfulness in your life so that you may live a life filled with passion, happiness, and peace. Through mindfulness techniques, it is my hope to restore your health and to bring about a sense of control of you emotions.

I do not claim to be an expert on this subject. I continue to learn every day about mindfulness and its positive benefits. I strive to share with you the science behind mindfulness. I offer you exercises and techniques that will assist you in becoming more fulfilled. I will direct you to experts in the field of mindfulness. I will present to you resources (books, audios, and videos) on mindfulness. I hope to share with you my experiences of working with patients and the results my patients achieve by using mindfulness in their daily lives. But most of all, I promise you a website filled with integrity which aims to serve you and your needs in the matters of mindfulness.
Please come along the journey with me!