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Mindfulness for men. Transform your life with 3 daily easy exercises

We all have heard about it but do we really understand what it means? I mean, you, man, do you fully understand? 

Isn’t it quite funny that this term has existed for thousands of years and that only a couple of decades ago has actually become sort of mainstream in our society (and I truly mean sort of). 

And it is equally funny to observe how there are studies and research into the different effects of practicing mindfulness by women and men reaching the conclusion that it can help women but not men! I’ll leave you to get your own take on that one if you wish to read the study.

For me, in my humble opinion, mindfulness works for everyone but in different ways or approaches, so what might work for one person, might not work for the other but that is regardless of gender in this case.

Mindfulness is not meditation, it is not a discipline, it is not an exercise that you practice for an hour a day, it is a constant state of awareness and paying attention.

Miss Dawson

The art of taking a shower

If you are having a shower and your mind is with you grabbing the soap and sensing it in your hands and feel the water running down your body…then you are being mindful, you are practicing mindfulness in that moment by being fully present.

If, as opposed to that, you’re having a shower and thinking what shirt you’re going to put on, who are you emailing first when you get to work or what are you going to have for lunch…then, my dear soul, you are NOT being mindful and are letting your mind control you once more and allowing the ruminating.

This example won’t be the most terrible of all, of course, but can you imagine that this rumination while having a shower is a toxic one from the past or an event from the future that hasn’t even happened? 

It could be something like what your ex said to you when she left you two years ago and you start creating a story as of why she said this, or why you didn’t say that …you might end up thinking about what she is doing right now with her new partner and how lonely you are and miserable and feeling like a total failure…and all that is in your head while you’re missing out on a nice warm and recomforting shower in this present moment.

The difference between being mindful or not, can literally change your life. From the very moment you wake up in the morning, it sets you off for the day. You can go the rest of your day  into victim mode or feel grateful and fulfilled.

I’ll tell you what: it is your choice.

Mindfulness takes more time if you are a man

Let’s be realistic here for a moment and go back to my own words above… mindfulness is a state of being but it is also true that it requires practice as everything else. 

Reading an article and going: “Okay, I’ll be mindful from now on”… It is not exactly how it works so let’s lower expectations in that respect.

The first step is knowing the term and what it means, the second is to apply it to little things every day and, from there, there is only a way forward, you keep adding things and training your attention. At first, as with meditation, you’ll see that you are not able to keep the focus, that is normal, don’t think you’re failing or you are not good at it or you can’t. Never think that you can’t!

The fact that you notice how your attention flies away and go to think about what your brother told you over the weekend… that is practicing too. Just bring the attention back, tell your brother to leave you alone and carry on. It doesn’t matter how many times you do this, with practice, it will happen less and less.

So even if you start with a few minutes every day, it is still a great job and little steps that will lead to the best of endings. 

The good news (for some) is that we are not talking about meditation as we know it because, although it is obviously really effective, it is hard for many people and, according to some studies, especially for men (or so they say).

So I’ll give you three little exercises that you can start practicing from today and be more mindful.

The Mindful cup of coffee

I’ll give you an example that I practice every day with my morning coffee. It is like a ritual and once I prepare it, I go and sit in front of the window, hold my cup with two hands and look out, I just do that, in silence.

When I take a sip of coffee, I close my eyes to taste it fully in my mouth and feel the moment and when I open my eyes again, I keep looking out of the window. Sometimes a neighbour passes by with their dog and I observe with attention, I notice if he’s wearing a hat, the colour of his coat… or if a car drives by, I look at it and notice it…I look at the sky… are there clouds today? Is it going to be a sunny day? I look at the trees and observe how they move with the breeze… THAT is being mindful and having a mindful moment.

What did I used to do before? Well, grab the phone and scroll up and down…THAT is NOT being mindful.

Easy lesson, right?

The Mindful drive

This literally happened to me this morning walking to the shop (embarrassed to admit) so no need to be a driver for this exercise to be honest but let’s assume you drive, I do too. 

This is a very stereotypical example but still not talked about enough as it keeps happening.

How many times have you driven somewhere with your mind wandering and you don’t even know how you got to your destination until you’re there? It is our subconscious mind doing an action previously learnt and our bodies going in auto-pilot while our conscious mind is out of the game kidnapped by thought. 

In that moment, we are not mindful and aware, we are simply not there, our body is but our mind is somewhere else so it is an exercise to bring it back to the present moment in conscious awareness.

Mindful drive

What is the exercise?

Grab the steering wheel firmly, turn on the car and pay attention to everything you see starting with the road, signs, lights as well as the things that are in a safe place for you to observe, whether it is a tree in a rural area or another car in the city.

Feel the steering wheel between your hands, feel your feet in the clutches, look at your car panel, check everything works as it’s supposed to work, you have petrol, etc.

In a nutshell: be there in your car, it is not a moment to be on a sunny beach in Bahamas, it is time to drive your beloved car.

Do you talk to him? I do. It is an old poor thing so I talk to him and pretend he is my co-pilot so I make sure I am there.

Journaling for men: only 5 minutes

I have mentioned this before and, in fact, I created a gratitude journal on purpose after a fan’s suggestion. He told me how his life changed in a few weeks of writing down in the morning for five minutes and in the evening for five more. After waking up and before going to bed.

Gratitude journal for men

He was writing in a blank notebook just a few thoughts and three things he was grateful for but then, after talking to some other men about it, they told me that for them a blank page was intimidating and they felt blocked not knowing what to write at all, so I came up with a template to prompt the writing making it easy for you if you are one who struggles with creativity and imagination.

It is divided into ten weeks and there is a motivational quote for every day. It is simply half a page to fill out in the morning and the other half in the evening. Believe me, it is really easy and even if it is a simple word, there will be something you’ll want to write down, plus, with practice, you’ll excel at it, that is, in fact, the objective of the ten weeks programme.

You can check the Gratitude Journal here if you wish.

Wherever you are, be there totally.

Eckhart Tolle

I hope you take a good advantage of these three tips and start trying from today, even if just one of them at a time. We need to train our mind so we can be the masters instead of the slaves.

Love and light from me to you.