Meditation has grown in recent years, with everyone from Paul McCartney to LeBron James to Oprah Winfrey reporting practicing meditation, but even so, there are still more women than men who report meditating regularly. Huh.
Between 2012 and 2017, the number of people meditating in the National Health Information Survey more than tripled. In this large sample size of nearly 100,000 people, more women than men (11% of women versus 11% of men) also reported meditating regularly.
What is meditation?
Ask anyone what meditation is, and you will get as many answers as there are different types of meditation. However, most people would agree that meditation is a practice that helps them feel more grounded and centered in themselves.
Where did the practice of meditation come from?
The practice of meditation originated in India during the ancient Vedic period. The goal of meditation is to connect with the inner self.
In Buddhist texts, the closest translation of the word “meditation” is the word “meditation,” which is the training of the mind to slow down automatic reactions in order to achieve greater awareness and a sense of peace.
benefits of meditation
Meditation is known to help with a myriad of conditions, both mental and physical. It also increases overall feelings of well-being and quality of life. Some Positions That Can Help Mindfulness
(in conjunction with other interventions) include:
- chronic pain
- High blood pressure
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- inflammation of the large intestine with ulcer
- smoking cessation
- substance use disorder
benefits of meditation for men
While meditation can help anyone with the above health concerns, there are some specific areas where men would benefit from meditation.
May help with male infertility
Meditation can also help with male infertility, which is the inability of one to conceive due to a variety of problems in the male reproductive system as well as lifestyle factors.
Stress can damage sperm DNA. In one study, lifestyle changes, such as meditation, reversed some of the oxidative stress that may contribute to male infertility.
may lower blood pressure
Another study that specifically looked at black men (and women) found that a transcendental meditation practice was associated with reduced systolic blood pressure in those with high normal blood pressure.
can regulate hormones
A separate study of men who practiced Transcendental Meditation showed positively altered hormones, including testosterone, cortisol, thyroid stimulating hormone, and growth hormone.
meditation for men at work
Taking time to meditate is also becoming common in the business world, with executives like former LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner talking about meditating regularly. Knowing that meditation can help with labor is one reason some men get into it.
And meditation can improve performance at work, both at the individual level and at the organizational levels. A group of employees of an Italian company practiced meditation together daily for three months. By the end of this period, not only did productivity increase and errors decrease, but workers also reported an increase in happiness.
Men and women may respond differently to meditation
Given that men and women are socialized differently to fulfill certain gender roles, it should not be surprising that men and women respond differently to meditation.
The Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire measures how people score on five different aspects of mindfulness – observing, acting with awareness, describing, non-judgmental and non-reactivity. Results 11 of administering this questionnaire before and after a 12-week meditation training showed that meditation helped women improve their emotional regulation by increasing acceptance of their experience and gaining attentional clarity.
Men, on the other hand, improved their emotional reactivity, non-judgment and self-compassion, which included an increase in their ability to identify, describe and differentiate their feelings.
Research 12 has also shown that men are more likely to express psychological distress through externalizing behaviors such as substance abuse or violent behavior, for example. Many men will direct their emotional activity outward such as through sports or video games, while women may be more likely to journal or ruminate.
how to meditate for men
Meditation represents a wide range of techniques, so men may want to consider some gender-specific approaches to meditation. They may move toward more active forms of meditation, whether that means being more physically active, such as mindfulness walks, or more psychologically active and less passive, such as learning to label one’s feelings.
Two types of mindfulness-based activities that may be particularly helpful for men 13 are:
- Open monitoring meditation involves tuning into everything—that is, observing all five senses as well as looking inside yourself to see what you are feeling physically through physical sensations as well as emotions. It may sound counterintuitive, but this type of meditation involves observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
- Affect labeling , sometimes described as “name it tame it,” involves noting to yourself—either out loud, in your head, or on paper—what you feel. have been It is believed that this way of externalizing your feelings starts to create some space from it. Doing so can reduce its potency, especially in men. Neurobiologically, it has actually been found to reduce emotional reactivity in your brain. 14
What if I just don’t like “sitting there”?
Caraballo says she has clients who feel like meditation “isn’t enough. It’s a hard sell just sitting there – it’s hard for them to determine, and they don’t know what they’ll get out of it.”
For them, he recommends things like mindfulness walks. His tips for getting the most out of a mindfulness walk are asking yourself questions like these to tune into your surroundings using the five senses:
- what are you watching
- Is there an odor that you notice?
- What are the sounds around you?
Caraballo also notes that some beginners prefer guided meditations. “Sometimes people like to be told what to do,” he says.
What if I am not meditating correctly?
Caraballo says he sees many men who think they “aren’t doing it right — and that can run really deep for guys,” he says. “I try to look at it, even if you don’t do it ‘well,’ whatever that means to you, you’re still accomplishing something. It’s still time devoted to you, and it’s better not to do it.”
It can be common for people to feel like they “haven’t gotten there” if they don’t magically relax after a meditation session, but it’s a process and a journey, and sometimes it takes settling in. takes a while.