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I am always fascinated by the way individuals communicate. While we’re constantly learning how to communicate throughout our lives, I believe you can learn so much about a person based on this.
Language is one of the strongest foundations of communication and we often forget the impact of how we choose to express ourselves on the people around us. Thankfully, non-violent communication is a practice that foregrounds not just effective, but mindful communication.
The true impact of non-violent communication struck me the other day. A client called me, sounding a little on edge. We briefly exchanged pleasantries before I remarked that she sounded stressed, and I asked her if everything was alright.
“The team is having a really tough time with communication these days. Working from home and the stress of everything that went on in the past few months has really taken its toll.”
“I understand, these have been exceptionally difficult circumstances. Is everyone well?”
“Health-wise, they are. One of our team members had a family member that caught the virus, but they’ve recovered and are safe at home now. It could be the schedule clashes, the frustrations of working from home, poor mental health or a combination of several things but the team just isn’t getting along.”
“You’re a fairly new company, so maybe your teams don’t know each other well enough to communicate well.”
“Yeah, that definitely doesn’t help. We’re having problems with passive-aggressive emails and other complaints about communication within the team. I just think the sooner I take action, the better.”
I agreed with her, and we delved into a fascinating discussion about non-violent communication and arranged to have an online workshop for her team.
After our phone conversation ended, I found myself thinking more and more about non-violent communication as a practice, its benefits, and its connection to mindfulness.
What is non-violent communication?
Non-violent communication isn’t simply the absence of violence in the language you use. It’s also not just politically correct speech lacking any inappropriate words or phrases.
Non-violent communication is often referred to as compassionate communication. It refocusses our communication by encouraging us to consciously understand and express what we are observing, feeling, and needing. This type of communication hinges on the understanding that our wellbeing is equivalent to the wellbeing of others, and teaches us to actively contribute to one another’s wellbeing.
A workplace that practises this method of communication is naturally more harmonious than one that doesn’t. Non-violent communication is not only effective when meeting deadlines and working together, but it also promotes mental wellbeing.
During difficult times such as the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health is at its most vulnerable. There’s not a lot one can do while social distancing, but the words we use and the way we express ourselves have a lot of power. Non-violent communication at these times is a powerful way to reach out and support each other when times are tough.
How does mindfulness help you develop non-violent communication skills?
As Oren Jay Sofer expressed, non-violent communication “has been described as an awareness practice masquerading as a communication technique”.
Our state of mind has a major role to play in how we communicate. For example, the frustrations of working from home likely had a considerable impact on my client’s team dynamics, resulting in communication clashes.
Mindfulness promotes compassion and empathetic living. It trains us to be aware of our emotions, actions, and the external environment. This helps regulate our reactions to stressful situations and become more self-aware. One often-discussed outcome of mindfulness is effective communication and cohesiveness when working in a team.
Both non-violent communication and mindfulness depend on heightened understanding and awareness. When you begin practising mindfulness, you see differences in how you choose to express yourself. The compassion, understanding, and self-awareness that you foster as a result of mindfulness is the backbone of non-violent communication.
The best way to practise mindfulness and grasp non-violent communication
Developing a practice takes time and discipline. The best way to adapt mindfulness practices into your daily life and absorb non-violent communication methods is through a platform such as Awakened Mind.
Awakened Mind is a technologically advanced mindfulness resource that aims to help you unlock all the benefits of mindfulness at your own pace through learning resources, meditation guides, and actionable insights.
Download Awakened Mind today and begin your mindfulness journey to unlock the benefits of non-violent communication.