I have the good fortune of traveling the world to speak about the health and performance benefits of mindfulness training. Our company, Whil, specializes in digital training. We offer up a wide array of programs to help people reduce stress, be calm and focused, increase their resiliency and improve their performance.
There's a misconception in the space that practicing mindfulness is "for women." You may be surprised to learn that this isn't the case. Within our business, we cover millions of lives and have hundreds of thousands of active users. The breakdown of male and female users is approaching 50/50. Learning these coping and resilience skills have countless benefits, whether you're male or female. Stress doesn’t discriminate by gender.
In our experience, men tend to enjoy digital mindfulness training better than attending typical coaching sessions or live training experiences. There are several reasons why this is the case:
We don't have to tell anyone
Us men fear all kinds of things. Failing. Looking bad. Having our masculinity challenged. Perhaps more than anything, we fear talking about our emotions. In fact, one study found 67% of men would rather be electrically shocked than sit with their own thoughts. That says it all. It doesn't come easy to speak to our wives, our colleagues or our boss about stress, anxiety and our mental wellbeing in general.
We can fit it in around our schedules
Mindfulness training offered up for mobile devices provide efficient and easy on-the-go access for the busy, stressed out business executive. This provides the opportunity for stressed-out males to step away find a minute, or five, to calm down and relax our nervous systems. Whether it’s on the bus to work or right before an important meeting.
We have anger management issues
According to the American Psychological Association, more of us are dealing with "extreme stress" than ever. With extreme stress comes an increase in anger management issues. When you're dealing with anger issues, it's hard to take a break from your day to day, let alone find a live training experience for help. Having a mindfulness coach in your pocket, where you need it when you need it, can be especially handy. And for those increasing number of men dealing with anger management issues, this is necessary - learning ongoing coping and resilience skills. With time, you’ll find that not only will you be able to ease your anger quicker, but you’ll experience it less frequently. All thanks to the neuroplasticity of the brain. Thanks, science.
We want to win
Look, guys are a competitive group. We like to be at our best. We like to look our best. Like to feel at out best. And most of us retain that competitive edge that was instilled in us when we were younger. As we age, sometimes it's hard to deal with the loss of our physical abilities and mental edge. But it doesn't have to be. Mindfulness not only makes us more resilient, it opens up deeper learning into being more non-judgemental and accepting. This is true both towards ourselves and others. And both are critical skills to get more out of life. That includes connecting more deeply with your partner. And for fathers, with our kids.
It ain't therapy
All of us could use a little help with our mental wellbeing. There’s no shame in that. But for many, including myself, the idea of laying out a couch and pouring out my heart to a stranger just ain’t happening. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with therapy. But men are looking to build coping skills that they can learn quickly and put to use immediately without over-reliance on others. We’re fixers, so we like to be the ones with the solutions.
If you haven't tried mindfulness, now is a great time. It’s on the cover of every major magazine and a new business book is coming out about it every other week. Everyone from top corporations, sports teams, universities and even the military are embracing these practices for a reason.
If you're a typical guy who hasn't yet tried mindfulness but are experiencing stress and anxiety from modern living, there are a wide array of digital options to choose from. You can get started for free and build from there. As you do, you'll find the skills to help you not only be more resilient but also to be more open, nonjudgmental and curious. All are great skills to get more out of life and business.
So guys, if you haven't done it yet, take five minutes out of your day and download an app to get started. I recommend Whil (for professionals, by professionals) but I’m biased.
P.S. You don't even have to tell anyone. Ever.
This article originally appeared here on The Huffington Post.
Posted by Joe Burton- 10 February, 2017
Joe is an entrepreneur in the digital wellness space, former president of Headspace, and spent fifteen years as a global COO in public companies. He's an alumnus of Harvard Business School and a regular contributor to Forbes, Business Insider and The Huffington Post. He's worked in over 50 countries and travels the world speaking on topics including disruption, culture, resiliency and mindfulness.