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Does mindfulness influence stuttering?


“People who stutter have the unique opportunity to teach the world to listen.”  -Anonymous

 

What is stuttering and how does it affect us?

Stuttering is a kind of dysfunction which occurs while speaking. It is more or less disruption in the ordinary patterns of speech. In this, a person talks with continued repetition of sounds and it becomes difficult to communicate with people. It is also called ‘stammering.’


It affects a person’s life as a whole. Relationships, job performance and communication are the few examples. However, it is observed that while doing other tasks like reading a book or playing a game, the consistency to stutter reduces for some time. 


What are the types and why stuttering happens?

There are three types of stuttering. Let’s discuss:

Developmental stuttering 

Neurogenic stuttering 

Psychogenic stuttering 


  1. Developmental stuttering: This is the most common form of stuttering which mostly occurs in children while they are learning a language because they are unable to give a proper form to their thoughts and it becomes a communication barrier. 

  2. Neurogenic stuttering: This type of stuttering may occur if a person has any kind of head injury, stroke or trauma. It results in difficulty for the brain to coordinate with all parts for effective body functioning and speaking. Also, it is carried forward from generation to generation, if it prevails in the family and becomes inherited abnormality in the brain. 

  3. Psychogenic stuttering: It is not easily recognisable because it happens after an emotional trauma when a person is depressed or thinking too much.

What is mindfulness and how does it affect stuttering?

Mindfulness practices are all about paying attention to our thoughts; how it is currently coming and going. It is a kind of practice which leads our attention to focus on something (any particular person or object). It teaches us to live in the present moment. It can help in stuttering in many ways:


  • Identify: Mindfulness can help people to identify or recognise what they actually do when they stutter. It is commonly seen that there is a change in behavioural patterns and facial expressions. But the most common change occurs is in the verbal description and tone of a person when he speaks. As a result, mindfulness can draw our attention towards themselves to instruct the mind to look beyond the words and observe directly the sensory experiences for improvement.

  • Avoid negativity: Mindfulness helps in avoiding negative thoughts and teaches us to make a bridge between the thoughts and emotions, we are experiencing. For example, if a person is having a bad day then it is understood that he is sitting tensed with a frown. This facial expression can change his behaviour and verbal tone also, which can create a problem. So, mindfulness helps in keeping the control of such thoughts and thus lessen the effect of stuttering.

  • Be more realistic: Mindfulness leads us to a realistic sense of our lives by controlling our thoughts. The more aware we are, the more realistic we become by changing our responses to the people. As this change grows, it increases the sense of empathy towards all. This feeling arises out of mindfulness because it helps us to understand and communicate by staying calm. We get the idea that we don't really need to rely upon the words but the more important thing is to convey the message. It builds self-esteem and as this faith increases, the fear vanishes out and stuttering reduces.

In conclusion, it is apt to say that mindfulness works wonders! It teaches us a lot in different ways so that one can lead a peaceful, contented and carefree life. 


Written by:

Amandeep Kaur

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