Compassionate listening-a gift to yourself and others


Compassion for those around us and for ourselves can  decrease stress during the holidays. At Green Mountain at Fox Run,  our healthy weight loss retreat in Vermont, we have been talking about how self compassion can decrease depression and negative self talk and increase communication in relationships.

Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. wrote an article on her blog entitled What Does Compassion Look Like?   and says that we can determine who is compassionate without even talking with themIn a study designed to determine what qualities a listener needs to be considered compassionate reseach suggests these three simple steps.

  • Listen with the whole body
  • Make soft eye contact with the intention of really seeing the speaker
  • Offer connecting gestures without interrupting the speaker to share your own comments or stories

“Simple—but not always easy to do when we’re distracted, busy, or stressed out ourselves. This approach to compassionate listening can be a tremendous gift to the person who is talking, and to ourselves. It helps us stay grounded in the present moment, and more fully receive the gift of another person sharing his or her experience with us” says McGonigal.

The intention you bring to your thoughts and behaviors really does make a difference in outcomes.

How can compassionate listening be a gift you could give to the people at work or at home who push your buttons and invite stress to arise during this holiday season. ?

One response to “Compassionate listening-a gift to yourself and others”

  1. health says:

    I want to become a fitness trainer but I’m a bodybuilder so I focus more on heavy weights low reps. Can you become a fitness trainer just for building muscle only? I don’t do cardio at all!!! and do you need some sort of certification to become a fitness trainer becuase I’ve been bodybuilding for 3 years and know the different muscle groups and the machines. And how much should a fitness trainer charge I hear they get paid well.

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

Marsha has been a guiding force at Green Mountain at Fox Run since 1986. In addition to overseeing a professional program that helps women establish sustainable approaches to healthy living, she is a respected thought leader when it comes to managing eating, emotions and weight. She has been a voice of reason for the last three decades in helping people move away from diets, an area in which she is personally as well as professionally versed. An accomplished writer and speaker, Marsha is the author of six books, including the online course Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals (co-authored by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, Human Kinetics), What You Need to Know about Carbohydrates (Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics [The Academy]), What You Need to Know about Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (The Academy), and The Pregnancy Cookbook (co-authored by Donna Shields, RD, Berkeley Publishing). She has worked extensively on a national basis to educate the public about nutrition and the impact of dieting on eating behaviors, including binge eating and emotional eating. Active in many organizations helping to further the cause of health and wellness, Marsha currently serves as vice chair of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and vice president of The Center for Mindful Eating and has been active in the Association for Size Diversity and Health in support of Health at Every Size(R) principles.

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