Mindful Meditation for Men
Meditation can be used for various purposes, making its definition a subjective one. It’s great for clearing the mind, regaining focus and letting go of life’s difficulties.
In my work as a counselor, I’ve found that men respond spectacularly to this approach to wellness. That said, I admit it takes some coaxing at the start of the process because many guys still view mindfulness as “new age” mumbo jumbo.
In truth, mindfulness based living, including meditation, is deeply rooted in Buddhist traditions dating back to the first millennium BCE (Abraham, 2011).
Once men get their head around the basic concepts and start making meditation part of their daily routine, the benefits soon become apparent.
What I share with guys interested in living a calmer life is simply this:
Mindfulness meditation has a specific purpose. It’s all about being present in the moment, letting your thoughts come and go in the moment and allowing yourself to be aware of those incoming thoughts while observing them non-judgmentally.
The “mindful approach” is becoming a way of life. Guys who practice mindful meditation daily truly believe it alters their outlook in a positive way.
And you know what else?
It’s also a super manly thing do. For real.
That’s because mindfulness is the ultimate form of situational awareness; a guy skill that is needed for survival.
Regardless if you are a sportsman, hunter, fisherman or high- stress executive, mindful meditation can help you up your game. It also promotes calmness, thereby allowing you to stay cool under stress.
Here are ten ways mindful meditation can help you as a guy, based on science.
1. Helps to reduce rumination
Mindfulness meditation reduces your focus on what is currently distressing you. It helps you to look at those areas of your life less judgmentally.
Your thoughts start to turn in different directions. You have increased awareness in knowledge and regulation of your cognition.
2. Improves working memory
Working memory is a part of your short-term memory. It primarily deals with your perceptual and linguistic processing within your conscious awareness.
Overall, mindfulness meditation enhances the capacities of your attention and working memory.
3. Teaches emotion regulation
Partially due to the reduction in rumination, mindfulness also helps you to better regulate your emotions.
When you practice this type of meditation, you learn how to look at your thoughts without associating them as either “good” or “bad”. Your attention is focused on your thoughts in the moment- you accept that they come, and you let them go.
The continual practice of letting incoming thoughts go can help you to let go of emotions that are weighing you down.
4. Reduces stress
It’s well known that mindfulness reduces your stress level. As you meditate, you learn to regulate emotions and thoughts. This really improves your cognitive processing and helps you to manage your stress levels.
This is one of the benefits on the list that you can feel immediately after a 10-12-minute session.
5. Increases focus
When meditating, you are essentially learning how to focus your attention on your thoughts. You aren’t focused on the past or future. You are truly in the moment and accepting thoughts as they come.
In doing this, you practice filtering. You learn how to apply this cognitive filtering to anxieties, worries, fears, and other distractions, helping you to focus in on one channel of thought.
Using this approach, you are employing components of ACT.
6. Less emotionally reactive
Mindfulness meditation makes you a much calmer, level-headed person. You become less irrational and emotionally reactive. You won’t be a prisoner to strong emotions.
It takes years of practicing mindfulness meditation to become less emotionally reactive. But don’t let that discourage you. Take meditation practice in baby steps, and build your way up to daily practice.
7. Increases relationship satisfaction
Meditation allows you to respond better to stress. You learn to stop acting on your emotions, which helps your relationship satisfaction and outlook.
Simply, a happier you translates to happier, more fulfilling relationships in your life. As an aside, living mindfully can also help you during times of relational transition.
Meditation enhances your ability to introspect, giving you more insight into who you are as a person. By being able to withdraw from the world around you, it frees up a mental space for you to reflect on yourself.
You learn about who you are, what you’re like, and why you are the way you are. This helps you recognize what you would like to improve on, what you have control over and will allow you to be a more confident individual.
9. Improves IQ
The study leader, Dr. Fadel Zeiden, an assistant professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at Wake Forest School of Medicine recently found that mindfulness improves your IQ.
It helps to stabilize your mood while reducing stress and anxiety levels so your focus can be better directed towards other thoughts.
Practicing mindfulness every day for 20 or so minutes can help your cognitive efficiency within a few weeks.
10. Overall improved sense of well-being
You become an overall happier and more fulfilled person. You learn about yourself and you learn how to handle yourself better.
Mindfulness meditation helps you to grow up. You’ll have happier, more satisfying quality relationships and you’ll begin to enjoy and appreciate yourself and your life more.
Practicing Mindfulness Meditation on Your Own
If you have never tried any meditation before, it’s important to realize that like with anything good and worthwhile in life, you’ll need to work hard for it and put focused energy into your practice.
Meditation is not going to be as beneficial if you only try it out for a few days or weeks. If you’re dedicated enough, you may start to notice some differences after a few months of practicing meditation.
Meditation will be most beneficial if you adopt it as a lifestyle change.
New research shows that the most beneficial meditation is the one that you’re going to enjoy the most. After some time, the more you practice it, the more you’ll want to meditate.
If you need a useful resource to get started, consider the book Touchstones: A Book of Daily Meditations for Men. You can check pricing on Amazon.
Don’t get frustrated if it’s not working immediately. It takes a lot of focused practice to quiet down internally. Sit down for only a few moments at a time during your first few times meditating.
Work on slowly building up your meditation over time. It’s one of the manliest things you will ever do.
Abraham, E. (2011). The First Spring: The Golden Age of India. New York: Penguin Books.