The world can be roughly divided into two groups: positive and negative people. Actively voicing your thoughts, acting assertively, and paving your own path are all attractive qualities in a person. Such positive attitudes can also improve our mental health. Through all of this, the key to building healthy and relationships are active listening and communication.
Actively Making Friends
For students entering a new semester, the psychological stress caused by their environmental change weighs heavily.
Will I make new friends?
Will I find a new romantic relationship?
Can I keep up with my studies?
Where will I go with my future career?
There are many things to mull over.
Japanese students entering their freshman year took a sruvery to answer, which parts of their lives they considered most important throughout their university experience. Students who had a positive attitude towards “socializing and friends” overall maintained healthier minds. Talking to and spending time with friends are crucial activities in maintaining good mental health. The key to finding communities that we can fit into, depends on how socially proactive we are. As for college students starting a new life, you can determine your future by directing your energy towards what you envision.
Post-Retirement Isolation and Loneliness
On the other hand, a lack of community is a problem among adults. Many people don’t have places to interact with friends or acquaintances in their personal time. This often becomes even more noticeable during unemployment, or after retirement. Things can turn difficult when retirees realize that their workplace was the only community they had. Many of them had been incapable of physically or mentally connecting outside their workplace. This is due to the fact that most of them worked from morning to night, then spend the rest of the day recuperating alone at home. It sounds inevitable for such people to feel lonely when they lose their only place of community.
Leaving a job not only means having less income, but also a loss of community. Such inconvenience and isolation from society greatly affect the mentality of an unemployed or retired. This can potentially lead to the onset of depression, and sometimes even suicide. For those who work every day, creating a community outside of the workplace takes up a lot of energy. But joining a community and interacting with others is one of the best preventive measures for loneliness and isolation.
Active Listening is the Key to Communication
What kind of person would you like to befriend? Someone with a good personality, easy to talk to, independent, and respectable. An admirable person meets all these traits along with an indispensable skill; the ability to listen to others.
“Active listening” is a wonderful communicative skill that’s widely promoted by managers across companies. Academically, this means to;
・Empathically understand without judgement
・Provide unconditional positive interest
・Stay open, frank, and genuine
In other words, look at things from the perspective of others, empathetically listen to them without judgement, and be sincere with your responses. Active listening doesn’t require a special technique. It’s actually a realistic and practical approcah in encouraging others to become more aware and open to their surroundings as they prosper.
A questionnaire targeted 124 employees that received mental health training from their supervisors. In response to the question, “What content of the training did you find useful for your workplace in the future?”, 63% answered “active listening.” Respondents believed that it was useful in building relationships, interviewing staff, creating an open work culture, and detecting potential mental health disorders. While ‘listening to others’ sounds like the basis of communication, there are surprisingly many people who lack these basic skills. Active listening is an essential skill if you want to build a community where there’s trust and prosperity.
Enrich Your Life With Active Communication
Although positivity can require considerable amounts of effort, it often leads to better mental health. In order to effectively communicate with people with different values, we continuously need to consider ‘why’ the other person thinks the way they do. Through conscious effort, we can eventually fully embody the spirit of active listening as a natural skill. Proactive communication skills will help us enrich our lives with more fulfilling relationships.
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Asaoka, S., Igarashi, A. Importance of communication with friends for keeping good mental health in university freshmen (2004).The Japanese Society for the Study of Career Education. 22(2), 11-18. https://doi.org/10.20757/career.22.2_11
Ikegami, K., Tagawa, Y., Mafune, K., Hiro, H., Nagata, S. The Effectiveness of the Mental Health Training including Active Listening for Managers(2008). SANGYO EISEIGAKU ZASSHI. 50(4), 120-127. https://doi.org/10.1539/sangyoeisei.E7008
Park Yong Koo. Japanese Yonug People’s domestic directivity based on data : comparative analysis between Korea and China.(2016). Journal of East Asian Studies. (14), 251-260. Retrieved from: https://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/120005767107