A Man’s Guide to Mindfulness
Mindfulness has many different meanings. It is often defined as being aware of your thoughts and feelings without feeling the need to take action. You are aware of what is happening in the present moment with the intent of becoming less reactive when your expectations are not met.
Most mindfulness techniques tend to be geared towards women; however, men experience stress too and mindfulness practice can truly benefit everyone! We all have a myriad of responsibilities (work, parenting/family responsibilities, everyday household tasks, etc.) that can contribute to increased stress levels and the need for mindfulness practice.
Benefits of Mindfulness:
- Better sleep
- Reduced chronic pain
- Decreased stress
- Increased focus
- Improved performance
- Decreased emotional reactivity
Here are two easy ways to be more mindful in your everyday life:
Focus on the five senses. Touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing.
The goal: as you return your focus from your five senses, you return to the present moment with less anxious thoughts and more clarity.
- Look around your environment. Become aware of your surroundings by noticing three things that catch your eye.
- Take note of three things that you can feel in that moment: your coffee mug in hand, your glasses on your nose, your feet on the ground, etc.
- What are three things you can hear? What noises are in the background?
- What two things can you smell?
- Notice one thing that you can taste.
- Take a deep breath in and out and repeat as needed throughout your day when you feel your stress levels increasing
Integrate walking meditation into your daily routine. If you find that sitting still is quite challenging, there are ways to meditate while you walk.
A walking meditation may be difficult at first, but the more you practice, the easier it will become. A simple practice of 5 or 10 minutes of mindfulness each day will help you stay in the present moment, reduce feelings of stress, and improve your focus.
- You can download mindfulness audio and listen to it while you walk. There are quite a few free meditation apps out there such as, Calm, Relax Now, Aura, & Insight Timer.
- Slow down your pace and focus on each footstep rather than rushing your steps.
- Focus your attention on your breathing and the sounds around you to ground yourself in the present moment.
Remember: you cannot change the past, nor fully control what happens in the future, therefore focusing on the present moment, and the people, places, and things around you are key to practicing mindfulness.