Relationships The Importance of Mindful Communication for Mental Health By Tiara Blain, MA Tiara Blain, MA LinkedIn Tiara Blain, MA, is a freelance writer for Verywell Mind. She is a health writer and researcher passionate about the mind-body connection, and holds a Master's degree in psychology. Learn about our editorial process Updated on May 11, 2023 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD Medically reviewed by Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD LinkedIn Twitter Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and a professor at Yeshiva University’s clinical psychology doctoral program. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print SDI Productions / Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Principles of Mindful Communication Mental Health Benefits How to Practice Mindful Communication Mindfulness is the practice of being consciously aware of the present moment, free of judgment. This form of communication involves the use of mindfulness practices when communicating with other people. Communication is often a learned behavior influenced by parents, peers, and role models. It is beneficial for an individual to learn mindfulness principles and implement them in relationships and social interactions. Read ahead to learn about the principles of mindful communication and how to be more mindful when you communicate with others. Principles of Mindful Communication Mindful communication involves being conscientious in how one interacts with others in the present moment. Empathy and active listening are two of the most effective principles in mindfulness communication. However, there are other principles to consider during mindful communication. The practice of mindful communication is centered on the following principles: Active listening Empathy Non-judgment Compassion Openness Vulnerability Patience Integrity Humility Self-awareness Attentiveness Acceptance Observance What Is Emotional Validation? How Mindful Communication Benefits Mental Health Mindful communication not only strengthens communication within relationships but also contributes to the individual’s mental health. Communicating mindfully enhances emotional regulation and social skills. Mindful Communication Strengthens Relationhips Most research studies examining mindful communication do so in undergraduate students and healthcare professionals. These studies usually consist of mindful communication training. Studies showed that this type of training strengthens relationships with peers in college students and healthcare professionals. Mindful Communication Boosts Mood, Resilience, and Connection Researchers discovered in a study including undergraduate students that training in mindfulness communication helped increase emotional resilience and positive mood while reducing stress. Many students emphasized the importance of mindfulness in communication and how it helps with understanding the self and others. Mindfulness communication training appeared to influence "social connectedness” and “self-development.” A study involving primary care physicians (PCPs) found that the training helped practitioners interact with coworkers and patients. They shared more personal experiences with coworkers and felt less isolated in the workplace. The PCPs also displayed greater attentiveness, responded more effectively, and displayed more patience when communicating with patients. This study that gave mindfulness training to PCPs, discovered a positive impact on “primary care physicians' well-being, psychological distress, burnout, and capacity for relating to patients.” How to Practice Mindful Communication To establish mindfulness communication habits utilizing its principles throughout life, one might work towards strengthening traits like; “forgiveness and gratitude” but also “mindful decision-making, leadership, meaningful relationships, and community connections.” These traits can be enhanced by practicing the following mindfulness techniques: Embrace Emotions Like Gratitude and Forgiveness Gratitude and forgiveness are not only for the other person but for yourself. You can appreciate your life, move forward with situations that have occurred, and see the brighter side of things. To strengthen these traits, consider completing a compassion exercise, like keeping a gratitude journal, in which you write about what and who you are grateful for in your life, each day being something different. In a research study, participants who kept a gratitude journal for three months displayed more emotional balance and fewer depressive symptoms than their counterparts within the first month. Write a Gratitude Letter You can even write a gratitude letter for someone who has significantly impacted your life. A letter of forgiveness is also a great activity to try; this involves writing a letter to someone who may have wronged you, but you’ve found in your heart to forgive.You do not have to send this letter. Writing a letter of forgiveness allows you to express your emotions and strengthen your forgiving ability. Be Compassionate Attempt to be compassionate when interacting with others, even when you encounter a disagreement. Although you feel the other person is wrong, work towards considering their feelings, beliefs, and points of view while not disregarding your own. Practice Self-Compassion Self-compassion is a newly popular concept in the field of psychology. The theory of self-compassion emphasizes the importance of how people interact with themselves. Before communicating effectively with others, you must know how you treat yourself. The words and thoughts you associate with who you are influence how you see the world around you and the portrayal of yourself. Learning how to hold yourself accountable while remaining compassionate is a continuous process. Practice Self-Awareness Being mindful of how you react to situations and treat others is essential. By being self-aware in interactions with others, you can acknowledge when you are wrong and work towards improving the situation. Be Willing to Apologize Sometimes, you may not realize when you’ve offended someone. Every person’s perspective and reactions to situations are different. People also have specific emotional triggers. Why Apologies Are So Important In other words, just because what you may have said or done doesn’t seem to be something that would hurt your feelings doesn’t mean that it is the same for others. If you’ve appeared to upset someone either intentionally or unintentionally, it can benefit the flow of communication to apologize genuinely. Be Conscientious Pay attention to how you speak to others and yourself. Remember that it is not just about the words being said but also your tone and gestures as well. Conscientiousness can prevent a conversation from escalating into an argument when communicating with another person. Be Present in the Conversation Sometimes, your mind may wander off or focus intensely on what you want to say next. If this happens, try to gravitate back to the present moment and not just hear the person but listen to what they are actually saying. Be mindful of these habits when conversing with someone, and try to listen. Be Open and Honest Expressing your feelings can be difficult, but you owe it to yourself. Opening up will allow the other person to do the same and create a comfortable environment for effective communication. Set the example of transparency in relationships that are important to you. Be Encouraging Try to speak uplifting words to your peers when possible, especially during times when a person may benefit from it most. It’s crucial to practice positivity whenever you can. Producing a positive environment doesn’t only put someone else in a good mood but makes you feel more positive as well. Try to Give Others the Benefit of the Doubt This is the typical “treat others the way you want to be treated.” Sometimes miscommunication occurs within peer relationships. Extend Grace to Your Peers If someone seems to have been off-putting or made a mistake, consider how you would want someone to treat you if roles were reversed. Wouldn’t you want to have the opportunity for someone to hear you out? Of course, do not allow yourself to be walked over, but try to understand the other person. Create Healthy Boundaries Sometimes, communicating mindfully is hard when boundaries are crossed. An individual may unintentionally say something that is triggering for you. You can’t always control what people say, but you can be in charge of the boundaries you set for yourself. Get to know yourself by paying attention to your emotions and triggers. While learning about your sensitivities, you can express them to someone if they’ve offended you. It’s okay if it’s not someone you are comfortable with being vulnerable with. What is important is that you are now mindful of what bothers you and know how to process your emotions accordingly. Also, be confident in the boundaries you set. It’s important not to allow others to make you feel shame when it comes to your feelings. Summary Mindfulness communication is very beneficial for everyday interactions with peers and loved ones. For it to be effective, an individual must put in the effort to implement mindful principles and practices into their communication style. If you want to get better at mindful communication, be conscious and present throughout every conversation. You can journal your thoughts about situations to find the best way to communicate concerns. It can also help to practice these communication principles with someone else to strengthen skills. You can also discover resources such as apps, online courses, or life coaching to learn different mindfulness techniques that contribute to effective communication. Also, consider speaking with a therapist about including mindfulness communication training in therapy sessions. 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