As a Gen Z, listening matters to me!

Updated: Jul 18

#mentalhealth #listening #experiences #stories #storytelling #sharing #communication #relationships #sillyopera


Yes, I am Gen Z and listening matters to me!


Good communication is more than just talking. It involves active listening, being genuine, and having empathy. As part of communication, active listening is a process of listening and responding to others when your attention is focused on the other person in an attempt to understand, interpret, and evaluate what they are telling you. The key is to communicate without judgment.


“Humans love to be heard. It makes us feel wanted & loved.”

Gen Z is no different from this human connection; we also want to be heard. But the times we are living in are challenging and different. With advancements in Information Technology and modernization, Gen Z is getting disconnected from relationships, family and friends and is getting addicted to social media, fake lives, showing off and portraying a happy online life even when their offline life isn’t in place. Deep down they feel alone, isolated and crave to be heard. This generation is living in two worlds- online and offline. One can not identify which one is real and whom to trust. Being on social media isolates us from our real-life networks. We have also found in research that greater use of the internet for social connections is associated with higher levels of emotional loneliness, depression and identity crisis.


Scientific research and surveys have also concluded that family time has significantly decreased to less than 45 minutes a day. After a long day, the members of a family sit in a room with smartphones in their hands. There is no communication, no sharing of thoughts and ideas and the usage of words is limited to even less than 200 words. With this change, the essence of relationships is getting lost and loneliness is increasing. In this change, a variety of stressors in our life are also leading to increased psychological concerns and more need for services for mental health.

Awareness of mental health issues has grown in the last few years. What once might have been ignored is now recognized as a problem and treated as such. The stigma around using mental health services has lessened too, making it more likely that Gen Z will identify their issues and seek help when they feel they have a mental health problem that can be treated.


But, there still lies a problem with this process where we seek help. When we first identify that something about us is not right, we reach out to our loved ones- friends, family or related people. We want to have listened first. There lies a difference between who is listening and who is hearing us. Listening means to listen actively, that is to be completely present- physically, mentally and emotionally.


Ears who listen are not as available to us as we desire, but the best part is that we all can still learn to listen better.



Below are some techniques with which we can actively participate in the listening process,


  • Make eye contact with the person.

  • Focus on what is being said. Do not engage in other activities at this time.

  • Listen and allow the other person to speak. Do not interrupt in between.

  • Allow pauses. Some people may need time to think and articulate.

  • Listen between the lines. Look for cues in the body language.

  • Ask questions, if something is not clear to you.

  • Be friendly and non-judgmental.

  • Show interest and concern.

We all can learn that sometimes people only want to be heard and are not expecting any solution. An ideal listener is one who helps the person in distress or problem arrive at a solution or conclusion themselves and not the one who gives suggestions and expects them to be followed. Being humble and compassionate is the key to empathetic listening. The unavailability of an active listener only worsens the situation and leads to complications and mental health problems.


‘Together towards better mental health’ is the necessity of the time.

By being active listeners who are sensitive to the mental health needs of our friends, colleagues and loved ones, we can take an essential step towards creating healthy communities. In the long run, we will be able to stamp out the stigma and loneliness that we experience, and instead, we will be able to look out for each other and help each other heal.

If you’re looking to make a difference, start with being present and actively listening to the people around you. You can also join a mental health community and try volunteering as a listener. It is a great way to be the first line of defense in mental health care for those around you.



 

Silly Opera is making it possible to create spaces where you can share such stories, have deep conversations around mental health and much more. These spaces are open to all for more information write to us.

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