Self Improvement

How To Keep an Open Mind

And Decrease Stress

Having an open mind means you are able to listen to others without becoming triggered, riled up or angry. It allows you to remain neutral a state of non-reactivity. As you can imagine this can be very calming to your nervous system.

was one of the first psychologists who illustrated the healing benefits of keeping an open mind during therapy. His style coined the benefits of a warm, empathic, . His ideas around effective treatment for mental health emphasized the importance of a non-judgement atmosphere as a means for building trust and rapport.

Many of the skills he taught to therapists can easily be applied to your daily life as a way to nurture cooperation, respect, and connection. It is through these states true emotional intimacy and growth can be achieved. Three of those skills are described below. When practiced these tools can improve communication and decrease stress in both your professional and personal life.

How to Have an Open Mind

Active Listening

Carl Rogers taught the importance of listening with engagement. To actively listen means to be present and listen without interrupting. Where there is poor communication conflict is more likely to occur. If you do need to interrupt due it from the stand point of wanting to be sure you are hearing things correctly rather than wanting to get your point across. For example, I see, when that person said that to you, it made you feel disrespected, am I hearing you correctly?

Neutral Body Position

To support your active listening skills and establish rapport Carl Roger’s encouraged others to notice their own body language and positioning. For example, he was careful to have his hands in front of him (rather than hidden under a desk) while speaking. This keeps the chemistry between you and another more open.


William Shakespeare said, “Eyes are the window of the soul.” Having a soft yet attentive gaze when listening to others can send a signal that you are open, present and willing to hear what this person has to say. Blank stares or wandering eyes can send signals that you are either being judgmental or disinterested, either way, people are more likely to read this as closed minded.

Put your phone away to increase eye contact. shows if a cell phone is even just sitting on a table, communication between others is likely to decrease. In order to maintain an open mind it is important to keep distractions to a minimum, so you can focus on others.

Applying these three skills—active listening, body posture and eye-contact—to your daily life promotes an atmosphere of respect. When people feel respected, they can let their guard down. This allows space for growth, healing and acceptance.


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