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 them. In a study designed to determine what qualities a listener needs to be considered compassionate research 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. ?