6 reasons why mindfulness practice can also benefit men
At The Mind Hub it is really important for us to understand the impact of the work that we do. There are some big statistics out there about the impact that mindfulness can have on the increased performance and reduced absenteeism in the workplace, for example:
Following mindfulness training, a survey of 80 leaders across 12 organisations found: 93% had a positive impact on creating space for innovation 89% developed enhanced listening skills to self & others. 70% felt a positive difference in ability to think strategically.
Transport for London (TFL) reduced by 71% the number of days off for stress, anxiety and depression among employees who attended mindfulness training.
These are significant numbers. However, there is a definite bias towards women seeing the benefit in mindfulness practice, but in reality, it is and should be relevant to all – why is this? Having read around the topic recently and spoken to some of my male workshop attendees, I think that it is because they are worried this practice is “fluffy” and could encourage them to perhaps explore things that would make them a little vulnerable. In a recent workshop I ran one of the male attendees kindly gave me his take on what mindfulness meant to him:
"I’m not one for mumbo jumbo or strange beliefs, but both my wife and I have done different Mindfulness courses with Tricia. My group consisted of 2 males and 4 females, it’s a mix of talks, flip charts, handouts and exercises. I enjoyed the mediation exercises so much. These made me feel really relaxed and left me with a clear sense of focus. Mindfulness is about fixing your attention on the present, nothing else. The group talks, and exercises give you a chance to think, understand and relax. Since going on the course, I have found myself more focused and better able to deal with issues at work and I feel it’s made me a calmer and more contented. Mindfulness has changed me for the better and it all starts with breathing and learning to clear your mind of clutter. It’s all simple and easy to apply, you can choose from a variety exercises help find the right way for you. Nothing strange, nothing odd and nothing to make you feel uncomfortable, just a happier you” Robert Harwood, Mind Hub MBCT Course Attendee 2019
I guess men are reluctant to come along because they assume mindfulness is touchy feely and all about sharing their feelings, when really it's an evidence-based approach, brain training to achieve better clarity, focus, balance, management of stress and adversity, leading to a better work/ life balance. I guess it's about de-bunking some myths and giving some info about where mindfulness is used in male environments.
Whilst mindfulness will benefit both men and women personally and, in the workplace, we wanted to share our thoughts on the key 6 reasons why mindfulness practice can also benefit men?
1. Increased Focus. In a world where we are bombarded with digital messages it is very easy to get distracted and it is no surprise that by practicing the art of focusing on one thing at a time, this will bring a benefit to whatever it is we are doing. With more and more businesses encouraging this amongst their workforce including: Johnson & Johnson, Coca Cola, SAP, UCB; and organisations such as Apple, Google and Yahoo having meditation rooms in their offices, it is clear that they are seeing the benefit in the practice of mindfulness. Even the US military is on board, using these techniques to help their people stay calm and focused out in the field. CLICK HERE to read one of our earlier blogs where we think about some key steps to take to help us re-focus and energise ourselves.
2. Improved performance. It makes sense that if you can increase your focus on a particular task, then the performance will increase. Building resilience in the workplace can certainly help with this, CLICK HERE to read one of our earlier blogs around this topic.
3. Build Emotional Intelligence. Effective emotional intelligence has been proven to be the cornerstone of effective leadership. So not only will mindfulness aid with the ability to perform better but also enable us to tap into our understanding of colleagues needs and wants. Ultimately, all leading to better leadership and more effective teams.
4. Reduce stress levels. Mindfulness routines can reduce stress levels in the body, by focusing on mentally letting all of the daily stresses go, which can also release tension across the body.
5. Improved immune system. A systematic review of 20 randomized controlled trials, comprising more than 1600 participants, revealed replicated, yet tentative, evidence that mindfulness meditation is associated with changes in select immune system processes involved in inflammation, immunity, and biological aging. In the workplace this is invaluable, especially during the winter months, helping to reduce absenteeism and productivity in the workplace.
6. Being Happier. By mindfully focusing on what you are doing, you increase performance, helping you to achieve more. In so doing so you are less stressed and able to live more in the moment. Why would you not be happier?
"Meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I've had." Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates (Hedge Fund)
In summary, whilst women do have a tendency to see the benefits of mindfulness there is no question that the practice can benefit everyone, male or female; young or old.
To understand how mindfulness could help productivity in your workplace or for information on personal 1:1 training, please CLICK HERE to arrange an initial no obligation consultation.