Mindful Communication: Talk that Promotes Your Happiness and that of Others


By Dr. John Mark Froiland

I originally became interested in researching inspirational and autonomy supportive communication because it has a powerful potential to help children love learning, reduce anxiety and depression, increase motivation to help others and increase happiness (Froiland, 2014; Froiland, 2011; Froiland, 2015). Inspirational communication entails conveying warmth, using parables or analogies to help someone see learning or healthy behaviors in a new way, explaining your passion for a healthy habit and many other science-based components (see Froiland, 2014 for all 22 Inspirational Motivational Style techniques).

Recently when I was presenting at a symposium in Philadelphia about this type of research, an audience member asked if I think parents are becoming happier themselves when communicating this way. My answer to this astute question was essentially, “Yes, but it’s time to do more intervention research on this topic.” Usually, research on autonomy supportive communication focuses on how it helps students, patients…

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