Effective communication involves two steps:  one person expresses themselves accurately, and the other person listens, understands, and validates.  Otherwise known as the Couple two-step (Fruzetti) One person leading (talking about whats going on for them) while the other person follows (listening and validating), then they switch.  This provides an solid foundation for effective communication.

The road to effective communication begins with mindfulness.  Becoming mindful of your own experience or emotions is key to successful communication.  If your arousal is very high, take a time out and work to bring it down before you initiate or continue any conversation. Wait until you are in a more balanced place (emotional regulation) before you describe your feelings and desires to your partner.  Practice slowing down, taking breaks, breathing mindfully to get into the present, and notice there is no harm or danger.

Once your arousal is decreased ask yourself, “What do you really want?” and “How do I really feel?”  The more relaxed you are, the more you are able to let go of judgment and blame and express your more primary and accurate feelings or emotions.  The more your words, tone, face, and body are saying the same thing, the more accurate and clear is your communication.  Things like being hungry or tired have an impact on our emotions (reactivity) and ability to be attentive.  So make sure you are saving important conversations when you are both fed and not so tired.  Turn off the television, close the computer, and find a comfortable spot to talk to on another.