In the art of conversation, especially for those “rapid thinkers” out there it is easy to already be formulating a response in the midst of conversation. The person you are speaking to may in fact be speaking, however you are already building sentence structure in your head, creating a response, opinion or defense. This habit could be something you’ve done your whole life or one that you do not realize you partake in. The challenge this week is to listen first, tell your response firmly to “Shhh!” so that you can have a moment to fully put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What is the message they are trying to relay? What feelings are coming through in their words and body language? What is their role in this conversation with you (maybe a parent role, partner or friend)? Then, formulate your response in that moment they pause, giving you the opportunity to engage and speak. After your conversation ends, take note of the difference in quality of not only the conversation itself but in your relationship with that person. Especially in arguments, it is easy to get defensive before letting the other person know that you’ve heard and understand what they are telling you. Once they know you have listened, they may return the favor and your argument may just turn into a compromise on some common ground. You may also start to notice more patience with yourself and less anxiety, it’s a win-win!