Mindful Listening and How it Could Save a Life

Suicide is one of those things that we avoid talking about in polite society.

For plenty of reasons: it’s depressing to talk about, it could potentially trigger someone, and if we’re being honest unless you or someone you know has been directly affected by suicide you probably don’t think about it too much.

However, coming up on the 10th (that’s Tuesday!) is World Suicide Prevention Day, i.e. a day where we talk about this problem in an empathetic and sincere way.

Suicide is the 10th most common cause of death in the United States.

On average there are 129 suicides per day.

Every 40 seconds, someone ends their life.

Those statistics ARE sobering, and I’m not here trying to make you sad… I’m here to talk about it. Mental health has far too many stigmas, most related to problems in mental health being invisible unless severe.

Suicide is one of those severe cases.

I can’t tell you what signs to look for because they vary from person to person, but the best thing you can do for the people closest to you, even if you don’t know if they are struggling, is listen. Not just listen where you pay attention to every third sentence and “uh-huh” when they pause for longer than 5 seconds, but really listen, MINDFULLY listen.

You might just save a life.


Mindful listening is taking the tenants of mindfulness in general and applying them to listening.

You bring your sole focus to the person speaking to you, allow what they say to be uninterrupted for as long as they need, and to not make judgements based one what they’ve told you.

After all, it’s not your job to judge what another person has gone through, just to listen when they feel they need to say something.

How to Practice Mindful Listening: HEAR

  1. HALT — Halt whatever you are doing and offer your full attention.

  2. ENJOY — Enjoy a breath as you choose to receive whatever is being communicated to you—wanted or unwanted.

  3. ASK — Ask yourself if you really know what they mean and if you don’t, ask for clarification. Instead of making assumptions, bring openness and curiosity to the interaction. You might be surprised at what you discover.

  4. REFLECT — Reflect back to them what you heard. This tells them that you were really listening.

Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.
— David Augsburger

Mindful listening is a great tool, not just for friends and family, but also within your work space.

Mindful listening deepens your empathy, create better networks, improves your communication when you do talk, as well as many other things.

Mindful listening could help save a life, and on Tuesday the International Association for Suicide Prevention is trying to do more good and to save more lives.

If you are anyone you know is a cyclist or likes to bike they will be holding a #CycleAroundTheGlobe challenge! Essentially, anyone can join and add their miles to the collective tally. Last year the participants cycled a whooping 15.8x around the globe!

You can click here to register for the month-long event, and don’t forget to tag your plans #cyclearoundtheglobe!

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

If you need a more personal start to your mindfulness journey, check out some of the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!