A Simple Trick for Becoming a Better Listener

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There are many ways to be a good listener, but one of the best techniques is also one of the easiest. Just take a deep breath.

In a recent post for Psychology Today, Kenneth Miller reminds his readers of therapist Richard Carlson’s timeless advice from his bestseller Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and It's All Small Stuff:

Before you respond in a conversation, take a breath. Not an enormous, loud, obvious breath that screams out ‘I am trying a new technique for better listening!’ No, just a normal, simple, ordinary breath. That’s it. The whole technique, right there.

Psychologists have repeatedly found that listening (particularly what's called "active listening") is integral to effective communication. One 2017 study found that people were better at identifying others’ emotions if they were just listening to their voices, rather than seeing them talk as well. Other research has found that people who listen to their partners with the aim of understanding the other person have more satisfying relationships than people who listen with the aim of formulating a response.

But it’s not just conversations between friends that can benefit from gaps in the dialogue. Ask any journalist for tips on interviewing, and they’re sure to mention a similar idea—embracing the silence, even if it’s awkward. While this can sometimes be framed as a way to trick closed-off interview subjects into filling the silence themselves, it’s also just a good conversational technique, no matter who you’re talking to.

“Most people need some time to grapple with their thoughts and formulate responses,” a guide to reporting on CNN’s website advises. “It's on you to give them that space. You don't know what memories or ideas are going through their minds, and if you jump in too quickly, you might miss a gem.” That’s true whether you’re having a professional conversation or gabbing with your best friend.

So the next time you’re trying to be there for someone as they tell you about their problems or confide in you, just remember: Breathe. As a bonus, you’ll probably feel a lot more relaxed, too.

[h/t Psychology Today]

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

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Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

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To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!