Keys To Stress Mastery: Are You A Good Listener? (Part 6)

by Doc Orman, M.D.

This is the sixth and final post in our series about seven key skills for becoming an exceptional listener that I began discussing with you last week (see links to prior posts in this series below):

KEY #1:  Listening Is Not A Passive Activity!

KEY #2:  Listen For Unspoken Fears/Concerns/Moods/Aspirations

KEY #3:  Good Listening Requires Great Wisdom

KEY #4:  Listen To Others With Respect And Validation

KEY #5:  Listen Without Thinking About How You’re Going To Respond

KEY #6:  Listening for Tell-Tale Signs Of Impending Trouble

Today, I’ll complete this series by talking about another key listening skill:

KEY #7:  Listen With Optimism And Positive Human Regard

Can Do ListeningMany people easily fall prey to negative thinking and negative emotions. When they communicate with others, these negative states come through, and they may even want others to sympathize with them and agree with their negative viewpoints.

Good listeners, however, often have the ability to listen to people “positively,” despite their expressed negative states. “Oh, a tornado hit and destroyed your home and all your possessions—what a tragedy—but at least you’re still alive!” Or “Gee, that’s awful, but don’t worry—six months from now you won’t even remember it happened.”

You can listen to people communicate about a tragedy with a great deal of compassion.  But you also can listen optimistically and with positive regard for their inner strengths and human capabilities. 

Sometimes people are so entrenched in their negativism that they fail to recognize their positive human traits.  As a listener, however, you can remind them of this positivity, provided you do it with tact, timing and sensitivity.

Reaching through all the dominant negativity to acknowledge people’s positive core will often make them appreciate your support.  Letting people know you know how courageous and capable they are, even in the face of extreme emergencies, is another way in which listening can be viewed as an active, purposeful process. Sometimes people will not be totally happy when you point to their positive potential.  But many will appreciate the gesture of love and support and will be glad to have people like you in their lives. They will feel you connect with something deep within them, and they will value you for standing up for them, whether they consciously thank you or not.

Besides, when you make it a habit to stand for people’s positive potentials and qualities, you reinforce your own human capabilities.  So the next time you fall prey to overwhelming negatively, you’ll be able to listen to yourself with much more optimism and positive human regard.


Well, there you have seven keys to becoming a better listener, which should help decrease your stress.  Hope you enjoyed this series.  If you did, please feel free to leave a comment below.

NOTE: This six-part series of consecutive blog posts contains excerpts from a newsletter article I wrote and published back in January, 1995 titled: “7 Keys To Listening That Will Win You Friends, Improve Your Marriage, Boost Your Profits, And Make People Follow You Anywhere!”

For a full list of all of my Kindle books about stress, click on this link:


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Guang Yang February 18, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Thanks for sharing these valuable ideas. I’ve read through the series of articles and appreciated that to be a good listener is not as simple as I’ve ever thought. Just like the physician described in one of your articles, I cannot wait to practice and further understand these advises.


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