Men and Meditation
Why Meditation is Good for Men
Hey guys, do you...
- Need to blow off some steam when life gets hard?
- Do you still feel stressed out after you run or workout?
- Wish that you could be more focused when you study?
- Have trouble getting to sleep and/or sleeping soundly?
- Want more energy for the things you love to do?
If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, you might want to try MEDITATION.
What is meditation?
Meditation is essentially deep relaxation. It's a distinct way of learning how to be present from moment to moment. Meditation is a way of turning inward, of finding calm and quiet so that you’re better able to deal with daily stressors in your life.
Men can benefit from meditation in ways that help them focus and feel energized. When you’re able to quiet the chatter in your head and focus on being in the moment, your physical and emotional resources benefit because they have a chance to relax and recharge.
For men who are involved in highly challenging majors (Engineering, for example), developing a daily meditation practice can help with concentration and focus so that the academic workload feels and becomes more manageable.
For male athletes, meditation can help in enhancing focus and concentration during a game or competition.
Many men are socialized to bury or bypass certain emotions that are deemed socially unacceptable for men to express, especially sadness and anger. Let's face it: Men are responsible for the majority of violence in our culture. Violent acts are, for many men, the one way that we learn to cope with sadness and anger.
How is meditation a life saver?
How can meditation do this? By helping men first learn to become more aware of our emotions (by learning how to be in the present moment, and by quieting the mental stuff that leads to unhealthy expression of emotion), then learning to find healthy ways of dealing with these emotions (like meditating, doing yoga, talking to a partner, friend, or professional, exercise, etc).
Individuals who meditate report that they sleep better than people who don’t meditate. Research suggests that this is true because higher levels of melatonin ( a hormone that helps with sleep) are more present in people who meditate than in people who don't meditate.
Come on, give meditation a try!
Steps to mediate:
- Create a quiet space for yourself.
- Turn down the lights, turn off the phone, and give yourself 15-20 undisturbed minutes.
- Let your body get into a comfortable position, either sitting in a chair or on the floor or lying down (if you fall asleep during meditation, you are probably tired and need the rest).
- Place your hands on your lap or by your side and close your eyes.
- Gently bring your attention to your breathing. Notice the inhalation and exhalation. Follow your breath. Some people find it helpful to count each breath. On the exhale, say "one" silently to yourself, then "two" and so on. If you lose count as you relax into the meditation, just go back to the beginning.
While it might be physically easy to be still, it might be mentally challenging to quiet your mind. Two things are probably happening. You are either thinking about something that has happened in the past or you are anticipating something that will occur in the future. Your thoughts make it difficult to really Be (yes, that's capital Be – it's that important) in the present moment, but that is exactly your goal.
Be in the present moment. Quieting your "mind chatter" will help you achieve this blissful state. If you are having trouble quieting your mind, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Even experienced meditators sometimes have difficulty with this. Try saying to yourself during the meditation, "I am right here" during the inhalation, and "I am right now" during the exhalation.
Like learning any new skill, meditation takes practice. Try setting aside 5 minutes a day at first, practice your meditation, and see how you feel after just a few minutes. Then after a few days, increase your meditation practice to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, then 20. Twenty minutes seems to be enough time for the beneficial effects of meditation.