Does it feel like you have about a million things competing for your attention? These days, the “always on” lifestyle is taking a real toll on our available attention spans – for ourselves and others.

Plenty has previously been written regarding the price associated with keeping up with a 24/7 pace. Let’s not go there. Instead, let’s explore how to practice mindful listening – how making time to slow down, focus and become really present with others – has become something as rare as a unicorn sighting.

Can you can choose to listen differently? The short answer, “Yes, of course, you can!” However, you will need to develop new habits to reform passive into active listening skills. The beautiful thing about this choice is by intentionally using these habits and skills you may find them deepening, blooming and perhaps even transforming into more effective and satisfying relationships with your family, friends and professional associates.

Here are a few tips to help you find your inner empath, to become a more active mindful listener:

Be in the now – As author Jaya Ramchandani shares, “As a wise friend of mine says: ‘If you are framing a response when the other is speaking, you are not listening.’” So simple and yet so true.

Listen with empathy – Practice paying attention with emotion, compassion, feeling and insight. Challenge yourself to rehearse and tune into the habit to “seek to understand, before being understood.”

Connect by asking questions – Deep listening is most valuable when others feel you are really hearing them. Practice using open ended questions to help you discover ways to have more meaningful connections.

How will you forge more meaningful connections? Practice. Practice. Practice. This week challenge yourself to find power in making small steps. We think you will find yourself accessing pathways to enable new opportunities to grow “in the now” with practice over time.

Source: Medium, What is empathetic listening?