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Compassionate Communication – How Words Change Your Brain

Andrew Newberg, M.D., and Mark Robert Waldman have created a communication strategy that they call Compassionate Communication.  This strategy is taught as part of the Executive MBA program at Loyola Marymount University, where Mr. Waldman is on faculty.

They claim that practicing just 12 simple steps – which you can find in their 2012 book “Words Can Change Your Brain, 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy” – will lead to a change in the brain structure of both parties that will create a bonding that allows more effective communication, collaboration, and success.

They used research from couples in therapy, caregivers, MBA students, and brain scans to come up with this formula that works time and time again.

When you use positive words like “love” or “peace,” dopamine will be released in the brain (the neurotransmitter associated with reward). Negative words release stress chemicals and interfere with memory circuits.

This is backed up by the research done by Masaru Emoto of Japan, who has studied frozen water crystals and how they change in response to positive and negative words.

In the 12 steps of compassionate communication, words are step number 8, after:

  •  Making eye contact with a welcoming expression
  •  Paying close attention to facial expressions of the other person
  •  Slowing down your speech
  •  Listening deeply to the tone of voice of the other person
  •  Not speaking for more than 30 seconds at a time – most people speak for 2-3 minutes at a time, and the listener only remembers a few seconds of what you have said

Mark Waldman says the most important thing to do when you are in conversation with another is to put your whole self into the conversation. If you start to feel stressed, yawning and stretching is the fastest way to relax.

Om Times did an article about Mark Waldman and the book he co-authored, and also has a great interview with him. You can read it on the Om Times website.

About the Author Staff Writer

Our staff writers come from various backgrounds in the neuroscience, personal development, brain science and psychology fields. Many started out as contributors!

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