Have you ever found yourself regretting the words that have just been uttered from your mouth? Moments after we say something, we can see the impact on others. Our communication, both verbal and non-verbal has the ability to heal or harm, to create connection or divide.
In our fast paced world, it seems nearly impossible to be aware of every word that comes out of our mouth. It is challenging, but let’s see what happens if we sprinkle a little bit of mindfulness into our world of communication. When we are stressed out or met with a difficult conversation, our natural reaction is to want things to be different.
Take a look at your work or home life. Are there challenging conversations that you are putting off, complaining about, using sarcasm or arguing with others about? You don’t need to be an Aikido master to communicate effectively but we can learn from their principles. The Japanese martial art of Aikido translates as the way of unifying with life energy. It is an art that defends the practitioner while also protecting their attacker from harm.
Mindfulness allows us to sense our own body sensations, thoughts and emotions prior to reacting from a place of defense or stress. Here is an example: Your anxious patient has been ringing the call light all day. You just left her room and the light goes off again. You have a choice to react on autopilot or respond from a place of awareness.
Depending on the circumstances and the inner and outer resources, you may have the opportunity to notice frustration arising as an increase in heart rate, heat, flushing or tension. You can then name your thoughts or emotions, such as frustration or anger. This awareness gives you the choice of a different approach.
Before you put your foot in your mouth, reflect on whether what you have to say passes the Buddha test.
Is it true?
Is it helpful for this person to know this?
Are you saying it from a compassionate heart with empathy?
Is now the right time to share it?