Brain research is now teaching us to be better communicators.
Andrew Newberg, MD, director of research at the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine and a noted neuroscientist is using brain imaging to advance communication.
Dr. Newberg teamed up with Communications Professor Robert Waldman of Loyola Marymount University on his new book, “Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict and Increase Intimacy.”
Their study of the brain and communication led to their own strategy for exercising the language and social awareness centers of the brain to enhance our ability to communicate more effectively. They call it, “compassionate communication.”
“Research shows us that we’re fairly unskilled when it comes to communicating with others,” says Dr. Newberg.
Using brain scans from MBA students, couples in therapy and caregivers, the authors demonstrated the impact of compassionate communication.
“We found that those engaged in conscious, intimate and open sharing are more successful at reaching their goals,” says Dr. Newberg. “A state of conscious, almost meditative relaxation, is conducive to constructive conversation: clear and concise conversation and better listening. There is less reactivity and potential for the conversation to escalate.”
Dr. Newberg says the negative thought patterns that generate anxiety, fear and doubt can damage the brain’s emotional circuits.
Dr. Newberg and Waldman detail the 12 strategies to stimulate empathy and trust in conversations with others that will help you achieve your goals. Those include relaxing, remaining present during conversations, listening deeply, observing nonverbal cues and more.
The 12 strategies – and the research behind them – are impactful whether you are a physician communicating with a patient, a parent talking with young children or someone needing to have your opinion heard at the office.