Mindfulness is often been seen as an exclusively female practice, because it fosters a less conflict-driven response to our emotions and our external world. As someone who teaches mindfulness to highly successful men- from CEOs to professional athletes- I’m here to tell you that such techniques can only strengthen your masculine identity. Some of the most elite individuals, from Steve Jobs to Kobe Bryant, actually credit their abundant success to the art of mindfulness. Here are all of the reasons why you should start practicing mindfulness today.
Mindfulness is not about getting rid of your thoughts, feelings, or perceptions. It’s about being consciously aware of what’s right in front of you, how you are experiencing it in the present moment, and reacting appropriately. For those in fast-paced, high-performance careers, mindfulness prevents your thoughts from wandering, keeping your mind laser-focused on the important task at hand. It’s no wonder Phil Jackson’s coaching methods include mindfulness. It’s what keeps your head in the game.
Strong, impactful leaders like Richard Branson practice mindfulness every single day. It allows them to see the ultimate picture of success that goes beyond material wealth. Mindfulness elevates your energy to a higher vibration that allows you to guide your employees or teammates in a direction that benefits everyone. Think that kind of empathic leadership is too “soft”? Tell that to Steve Jobs whose authoritative energy was matched with a mindful attention toward others that got things done.
Stress-related illnesses impact male professionals at a higher rate than others. Heart disease, high blood pressure, headaches, obesity, diabetes and accelerated aging are all physical ailments related to poor stress management. Mindfulness not only lowers your stress, but will increase your overall physical health by preventing these fatal diseases. Professional athletes, including countless Olympic champions, practice mindfulness to maintain their peak physical performance. The most successful corporate executives also use mindfulness as a defense against mental burnout.
Increased focused, strong leadership, a healthy mind and body… all of these are achievable through mindfulness training. It is necessary to develop the kind of masculine confidence that can elevate you from being the best in your field to the very elite.
Meditation has stood the test of time. The fact that people have been meditating since the beginning of human civilization is a testament to its many benefits. Scientific research over the years has proven this. And I have spoken at length about it on this blog many times. But, did you know meditation can help you hit the reset button on your brain? Read on to find out about set points and the power of meditation.
Each of us has a set point for positive and negative emotions. The Set Point Study found that people who are naturally happy have more activity in the front part of their frontal lobes. While those who are prone to anxiety have more activity on the right side of their frontal lobe. When you go through intense events in your life, your emotions shift away from that natural set point.
For example, this study worked with naturally happy people who only recently began suffering from spinal cord paralysis. The study found that those people returned to their natural demeanor after a brief depression. Your brain chemistry will always regress to its natural set point. However, this process takes about 6 months.
It is possible to reset your natural emotional set point. This reset can be achieved through meditation. Participants in the study meditated for 1 hour a day, 6 days week. After 8 weeks, follow-ups showed a change in each participant. They were happier and became more in tune with the emotions of those around them. In addition, their immune system responses improved.With MRI scans, scientists have noticed that people who meditate have larger brains than those who don’t. Elderly people who meditate regularly also lose less gray matter and have a thicker prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is where your attention and control are determined.
Armed with this knowledge, you can make meditation a priority for your health. Ease meditation into your day, starting with 15-minute spurts. Eventually, you will work up to the 1-hour meditation session per day, 6 days per week schedule used by the participants in this study. If you are naturally anxious or depressed, you can change this set point over time with this schedule and improve your overall quality of life.
If you find it challenging to make positive changes in your life, you’re not alone. It could be due to the HeartWall. When the HeartWall is removed, you connect on a deeper level personally and professionally, experience increased health, have a greater peace consistently and are more abundant. Learn more about the HeartWall here.
Recently, I’ve talked about the different ways your energy can emanate, particularly if you’re in a leadership position. Today I’d like to discuss how masculine energy functions, and how it can work for and against you.
Masculine energy can be a powerful force for good, a unique vibration that invigorates and enlivens everyone around you. However, some masculine energies can be misdirected, coaxed into servicing a winner-takes-all approach that is unsustainable in the long run.
Some men feel an aggressive urge to compete at all costs, in their professional and personal lives. This ongoing drivenness to do or perform takes a psychic toll, because it doesn’t account for every person’s need for quieter, more contemplative moments. These are moments of reflection, a “time out” during which you can carefully consider the world around you and how to best approach it.
This kind of mindful reflection is an opportunity to truly see your unique destiny as it relates to the world, not just how your individual male ego can best be served by others. The un-enlightened among us will often accuse such acceptance and allowance as”un-masculine,” but when an individual’s masculine yang energy is untamed, it can never achieve the wholeness it so desires.
The ability to stop and reflect, and experience mindful gratitude, is not un-masculine. It is a powerful ability that some of the most successful male leaders have harnessed.
The CEO of Aetna, Mark Bertolini, is an example of a man who demonstrates positive male leadership in the right way through his daily mindfulness practice. Bertolini exudes confidence, knowledge and masculine power because he meditates on the important role he’s been given. He carefully considers the way he can best serve those who follow him, not how he can deplete all his resources in service to himself.
Not everyone has discovered Bertolini’s secret. Some male leaders are overtly aggressive, competitive, and wish to take away other people’s strength through emasculation. They segregate themselves from those who would otherwise support them. They care nothing for collective advancement, and their main goal is merely to protect their own frail ego from criticism.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Society as a whole can celebrate the life-affirming energies of great male leaders like Abraham Lincoln or Dale Carnegie, men who went against the grain to achieve their destinies. These were leaders who converted their masculine energies into a higher goal, who were also able to surround themselves with other people whose strengths were a complement to their own.
If you feel challenged in developing better leadership skills, and would like to learn how to balance your career and your personal life, let’s have an exploratory phone call and see how a few skills from me, AmyD, will create the peace you’ve been looking for.
Schwartz’ argument boils down to this: More choices aren’t necessarily better than some choices. In a world where everything from our food, electronics, health, relationships, careers, and even our identity is subject to endless decision-making and variety, we tend to become paralyzed and can’t make any decisions at all. Even worse, we feel endless regret over a good choice we made, because we fall under the illusion that another choice would have been better than good. It would have been perfect.
In the video, Schwartz also describes how endless decision-making takes up so much of our headspace that we have a hard time being present. Even a good decision to not take a work-related call during your child’s soccer game still fosters anxiety-related energy about the decision just made. However, there is a way out of this vicious cycle of decision-making, paralysis, disappointment and regret.
It’s called mindfulness.
Although we can’t control the number of choices we’re faced with on a daily or even hourly basis, we can control the way we react to those choices. By living presently in the moment, we don’t have to feel paralyzed. We can approach the wide array of choices with a sense of adventure, playful risk, and curiosity about where our ultimate choice might lead us.
We also don’t have to feel regret or disappointment after we make our decision.The whole point of mindfulness is to draw your mind, body and spirit back into the present rather than re-hash the past, or anticipate that something better will come along in the future.
By remaining present to ourselves through mindfulness, we accept the here-and-now decision with joy, wonderment and gratitude. And if we discover that our choice was indeed a truly “bad” one, mindfulness allows us to accept that “bad” choice as an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and grow stronger because of them.
Schwartz is right that a world with too much variety and too many choices can make a person depressed or anxious. However, by cultivating a mindful attitude, you can avoid the pitfalls of living in such a world. In fact, you can create the kind of world you want to by being the positive reflection you want to see in your world.
If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness training and how it can serve you in your every decision, reach out to me.
You can find true freedom and liberation from unhealthy, inhibiting mindsets. Find your clarity today!
Life can be overwhelming at times. From the stresses of the day to day, work, traffic, interpersonal relationships, etc it can all be a bit much. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were somewhere you could recharge your batteries? Some place beyond the pages of a book, the gym, or the man cave? What if I were to tell you that there is and it is all around you?
Nature has always been a source of healing, renewal, and regeneration. Whether you’re out in your own garden or deep in the wilderness, the natural world is awe inspiring, powerful, and deeply relaxing. The curative powers of nature have been known the world over for centuries. Hippocrates may have said it best when he said, “nature cures-not the physician”.
It may sound a little New Age-y to you, but there is actual scientific data to back up these claims. As far back as the 1970’s, studies have touted the restorative benefits of nature. One study concluded that hospital patients, whose windows face a natural setting, recover nearly twice as quickly as and with far less complications than those whose rooms are without windows or have a more industrial view.
And let’s face it; “getting back to nature” is really just a return to our natural state of being. Communing with nature reminds us of where we come from, because we are a part of the earth. Returning to nature liberates us from all the trappings of a technological society and lets us to exist in our truest state. Allowing ourselves time in nature gives us the opportunity to heal, recharge, and reconnect.
However, fostering that connection with nature isn’t just as simple as going outside. You will want to be in an outdoor space that makes you feel nurtured and at ease. You will need to be receptive to the wisdom that the earth offers. If you don’t immediately feel a connection, don’t worry. Try some deep breathing or meditation. And if you are still unable to feel the connection, then let’s talk. You may be experiencing emotional and spiritual blockages that can be removed by the bioenergetics work that I do. Avenues to love and light need to be open to fully experience the healing qualities of nature.
a very hard word to define. What
I might define as patience may mean something completely different to someone
defines patience as toleration or magnanimity for the faults or
affronts of others; courageous endurance.
Patience, to me, is gentle, quiet, and compassionate. It’s the ability to show kindness and understanding to ourselves and others.
This time of
the year can really test our patience. Everyone is busy making resolutions,
planning for the year ahead, or just trying to get back on track after the
holiday rush. The new year is a great time to look to the year ahead and set
goals. We may even reflect on our accomplishments from the past year. If there
are big changes you want to make this year, this is the perfect opportunity to
practice patience with yourself. Learning something new is not always easy.
Giving yourself grace and patience to figure it out will benefit you in so many
When we find
ourselves losing patience, we need to take a step back and figure out the WHY. Sometimes
when we get frustrated with someone, it may be triggering something inside of
us. Perhaps we need to deal with unresolved feelings from our past. For
example, maybe you had a co-worker who constantly showed up late for meetings.
This made you feel disrespected and now anytime someone is late to a meeting,
you are quick to lose your patience.
One way to improve our patience is to do what I like to call mirror work. The next time you find yourself losing patience, take a moment and ask yourself, “why does this frustrate me?” It’s like looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing you, for you. This may require digging deep and really asking the tough questions. In the example above, you could ask yourself, was that co-worker purposely trying to disrespect you? In all likelihood their inability to show up on time had everything to do with themselves and nothing to do with you personally. It’s time to forgive and let that go. Someone being late to a meeting is not a personal afront to you. Learning to ask these tough questions will be worth it. When you find patience for yourself, you find time to breathe and reflect on what’s important.
Once we learn how to show someone else patience, we can teach them by example. It’s like paying it forward, in a way. So, the next time you find your patience waning, take a step back, look in the mirror and work on yourself. May your patience help you show kindness, compassion, and understanding to those around you.