MINDFUL MEN! OK, LET'S CALL IT 'MIND-TRAINING'
If you’re a man or you know one, here are five reasons why I think men should give mindfulness a try.
Increase Focus –
Mind-training methods, used to train the military to stay calm and focused, have been used by many successful athletes, while several top clubs in English football have been inspired to use mind-training techniques to remain focused throughout their game.
Scanning the brains of Navy Seals, has revealed the benefits of meditation in developing the ability to fully focus on the present moment, which benefits their work and their lives outside of work.
Companies including Google, Apple, Edmunds, McKinsey, Yahoo have recognised the advantages of meditation within the company and now have meditation rooms in their offices.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, when we intentionally practice and repeat paying attention to something, we would therefore get better at paying attention to what matters at that moment in time.
Improve Performance –
Naturally, if we’re able to focus better this would increase our performance.
A study in the Journal of Occupational Health showed that The Mindfulness at Work® program saved employees 69 minutes per week in productivity. In a world where we’re trained in multitasking, it's easy to understand how we can get distracted and forget what is urgent and important at that moment in time.
Facebook or work? Football results or helping your children with their homework?
There’s nothing mystical about training our brains to pay attention to what matters over and over again.
Build Emotional Intelligence –
Emotional intelligence has been shown to be an important characteristic of an effective leader (and of course a necessary part of mental health and healthy relationships).
The brain tends to make decisions based on our emotional state, so it's important for us to understand what is happening in our minds and bodies. Our brains can respond irrationally when it comes to strong emotions such as, risk and fear, which brings on our fight or flight response. Mindfulness teaches us how to approach these emotions in a way so that we learn to accept, allow and potentially change unhelpful emotions and then respond appropriately to the situation.
In doing this we start to feel more grounded, stronger and develop a sense of self-trust.
Better relationships –
The practice of paying attention, on purpose, also has to do with getting increasingly better at understanding other people in our lives. There is a lot of frustration that occurs in relationships because people are not tuned into the needs of each other. As we learn to focus and develop emotional intelligence we also build the strength of understanding and compassion. We can develop the ability to put ourselves in our partner’s, children's, boss', friend's and colleague's shoes.
You can learn to be less defensive, more open-minded, a better listener and more physically present in the moment which also makes for a better, more loving sex life.
More Confidence –
It feels good to get increasingly better at something. We’ve all experienced this when learning to walk, talk, riding a bike and learning any new skill.
In the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, it states it takes 10,000 hours to experience true mastery. We can get increasingly better at all of the benefits of mindful awareness.
With practice we can learn to experience more confidence with our focus, performance, emotional intelligence and in our relationships. Of course, as we practice and repeat all of this, the changes that we experience begin to open up a much greater reward. We start to realise that mindfulness is about learning who we really are.