Has someone ever said something to you that has pushed your buttons so much that it was difficult not to react very strongly to their words, and you blurted something out that you regretted later?
Or, perhaps, it was something they did that upset you, or made you feel anxious and ramped up your stress levels. Alas, you said nothing and bottled up the emotions.
These are situations where conscious communication can work as a tool to help make communication easier, more effective and can take the emotional impact out of stressful situations.
Quite simply, conscious communication involves making our speech and other communication as mindful as possible. This way, we are always responding, and not just reacting.
But it also helps us become more conscious of our emotions before we communicate so that we can deal with them with finesse and can easily make our way out of the “stress reaction cycle.”
The process goes like this:
- Stop and take a deep breath. This stops you from reacting unconsciously.
- Pay attention: Notice your reactive interpretation of the situation. Do you notice that it feels like this person is ignoring you or disrespecting you?
- Acknowledge your feelings, e.g., I feel stressed when my boss speaks to me like that. The top emotions to recognize are mad, sad, glad and afraid.
- Formulate a response you feel is appropriate for the situation, and one that honors your feelings. There are many ways of responding to any given situation. Which will you choose?
As you can imagine, practicing this conscious communication method can help prevent stress, as well as manage it, which is an essential part of maintaining healthy cortisol levels and optimal hormone balance.
It is also amazing how quickly this method works, though you may choose not to respond to a situation immediately because you would like more time to work on making your response conscious.
I use mindfulness in communication to handle challenges at home, work, and in my social life to keep my cortisol levels in check and help maintain a level of personal integrity that leaves me feeling content.
The most wonderful thing about conscious communication? With a little assistance from another, anyone of any age can benefit from conscious communication.
Why not use it yourself to help you keep stress in check? I’d love for it to work for you.