Listening effectively helps relationships and communications in all sorts of ways. There are other more personal and less apparent benefits to listening well:
Listening slows you down
Giving your full attention to what’s being said means letting go of distractions and side-issues. To listen well you must be ‘present in the moment’, which has similar benefits to training yourself in mindfulness.
An antidote to stress
A large part of feeling stressed s due to anxiety about all we have to, or are failing to do. Accept that you must focus only on the job in hand and you’ll remove much of the other information and clamour competing for attention in your mind.
It slows your metabolic rate
Listening mindfully requires concentration. You have to slow down to pay attention. Done properly – devoting time, space and attention to a conversation – stills the mind. When you feel ‘centred’ like this, the body follows suit.
It connects you to others
We are a social species and feeling connected to others benefits health and wellbeing (whereas loneliness does the opposite).
More fulfilling communications
Skill in listening boosts confidence and efficiency. Disagreements are avoided or settled more quickly, as are mistakes. Above all, good listeners are liked by others and tend to do well at work and socially.
Avoiding fear of judgement
Many people measure themselves by external criteria. That is, they judge themselves according to what they think others might think of them. Focussing on listening leaves no space for distracting judgemental thoughts and comparisons.
Setting yourself the task of becoming a better listener is an object lesson in self-awareness and personal improvement. It is easy to study, because there is so much good information available (just check your Googlescope), and learning, when you are interested in your subject, provides purpose and fulfilment. These are two of the cornerstones of wellbeing