Listening is the connective tissue in relationships, and as member of a profession that demands listening with a maximum of attention, it was with great interest that I read a research study showing that a listener's brain activity synchs up with the brain of the storyteller. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Psychological Sciences published a study that showed "coupling" in the brain waves of tellers and listeners, some visible evidence of the way our consciousness connects. And here's the kicker. This is an effect "that vanishes when participants fail to communicate."
The stories we hear change our brains. The stories we tell change others' brains. This is how psychotherapy heals. It is how relationships grow. Think of listening as the expression of connection with the important people in your life and you will participate in shifting the narrative. Think of how the stories we tell define us to the people who receive them, and their impact on how others feel and think. "Careful the tale you tell," the Sondheim song continues, "That is the spell, Children will listen."
Jude Treder-Wolff is a trainer/consultant, writer and performer. Her current show is Crazytown: my first psychopath in performance at Actors Theatre Workshop, 145 W. 28th St., Third Floor, New York, NY. More information available at www.judetreder-wolff.com
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