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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

A Simple Path to Wiser Communication

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Jun 24th 2013

talkAt this point in time we are conditioned to react quickly to things. We live in a brainwashed culture of urgency where the media and corporate America play off of our natural inclination to pay attention to something that appears urgent. Unfortunately, this leads to a natural state of continuous fractured attention and so we often don’t think before we speak. 

Here is a simple practice to significantly reduce the possibilities of putting your proverbial foot in your mouth:

Simply take a breath before you speak. 

This may be something you’ve heard of before and so your mind rolls its eyes and says, click onto the next web page. But before you do that, ask yourself, “When was the last time I actually practiced this?”

It’s one thing to intellectually be able to recall a good practice; it’s quite another thing to have it as a regular conscious experience in everyday life. 

So whether you’ve heard of this practice before or not, allow this to be an opportunity to begin weaving it into your everyday life and see what happens. 

Whether it’s after receiving an email or text from someone or getting receiving negative energy from a fellow co-worker, breathe first and then fire off that email or respond to the coworker, friend or spouse. 

Your reaction may not also be the wisest still, but ultimately my guess is it will get better and better. 

Why? 

Because, as Viktor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response and in our response lies our growth and freedom.” 

When we take a breath we widen the space between stimulus and response, opening our mind to the various choices that are there. We are aware of other choices that may be wiser than our immediate reactive one. 

You can’t help but feel more freedom and grounded in the responses you give. 

This simple, but often not easy, practice is a path to wiser communication and relationships. 

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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