“Are you listening to me?!”

How often have you found yourself speaking to a child, a partner or a co-worker and wonder if they are actually paying attention to the words you are saying? I’ll admit it: I’m guilty of getting distracted at times too, so that expression is something others have said to me as well.

Amid all the physical and digital distractions of our daily lives, the challenge we face is to actively listen when people are speaking. That means we need to devote all our attention to what is being said so we can understand and respond accordingly. It means not interrupting or checking your phone or thinking about your grocery list.

Active listening can take practice, but it’s good for all our relationships, personal and professional. Hone your skills by asking a partner, friend, colleague—or anyone:

  • What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
  • Who was your childhood hero?
  • What is the most important lesson you have learned so far in your life?

You will likely discover something new and interesting. Finding ways to strengthen our relationships with others is a great way to eliminate stress in our day-to-day lives.

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