Having someone who listens to you in an authentic, close, and empathetic way is more than a gift. It is medicine for your physical and mental health. According to recent studies, something as basic as this can reduce your cognitive decline and allow you to live to old age with better brain performance. So don’t hesitate to listen carefully to your fellow human beings. Listening as therapy has amazing effects.
We all know how important good communication is to our wellbeing and relationships. We don’t just need people to share our thoughts, needs and experiences with. It is essential to know that we are heard and understood. But that’s not always that easy.
There are people who share our couch but are still unavailable. They may nod to us, they smile, but we quickly find that their minds are light years away from ours. Many only listen to answer us or to contradict us, many simply do not have the patience or the emotional ability to empathize.
To be heard and understood is a basic need for human wellbeing at any age!
Cognitive decline: listening as therapy
For effective and productive communication, we need to be good listeners. Life is often complicated, but if we can listen to one another, we can understand other people’s realities. We are then also able to make agreements or to live together in harmony.
However, there is another important aspect. We don’t just listen to solve problems or make agreements. Listening to someone means giving that person presence and validation. It’s about connecting to their reality without judging. You are simply telling her: “I am here for you”. You also need to know how to read non-verbal communication beyond the words: gestures, tone of voice, etc.
Having someone to listen to you is meaningful in childhood and adolescence, but of course also in adulthood. So much so that a recent study by the New York University School of Medicine points to something very important: The feeling of being heard in everyday life affects our cognitive health. It can even make an important contribution in the prevention of cognitive decline and diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Meaningful social interactions improve our cognitive functions
In the field of neurodegenerative diseases, there is one fact that keeps drawing the attention of experts. When many older adults are autopsied, the brain shows clear signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Even so, not all sufferers develop this disease. Why is that?
In fact, not all of the mechanisms that prevent Alzheimer’s from progressing are known. However, we know that factors such as maintaining an active and high quality social life act as buffers. Thanks to this work, published in the journal JAMA Network Open , it has been shown that listeners promote what is known as cognitive resilience.
Listening as Therapy: Cognitive Resilience and Daily Emotional Support
Having friends, family, partners, etc. may or may not be worth it. It depends on the quality of the bond, on the emotional relationship. Sometimes people with a large social network feel the unbearable burden of loneliness. On the other hand, there are people who have two or three friends who are wonderful support and very enriching.
To have someone who listens to you, is to have a person with whom you can share fears, joys, needs, concerns .. . Good emotional support gives us mental peace and security. You can use it to reduce stress, find hope in dark days and promote motivation and the desire to keep moving with the world.
All of this strengthens cognitive resilience, ie the ability to face old age with intact brain functions. Processes such as memory, attention, problem solving, reflection and logical thinking are positively influenced: Listening as therapy has numerous advantages!
Listening as therapy: Listening to others and being heard yourself promotes health only
Having someone to listen to you whenever you need brings relief and satisfaction. Good friends, partners or siblings can be our allies on the journey of life. But we shouldn’t forget something crucial. We too have to become good listeners to others.
It is necessary to listen quietly, open to the other person’s reality, and put our own aside for a moment. Knowing how to be emotionally present, empathically close and connected with sincerity and authenticity is good for our well-being and that of the people we love . It’s so simple and so important at the same time!