This technique is essential for all human beings and should not be limited to one gender. However, the Mindful practice, in some circles, has been associated with a system that is not based on substantive results. It has been dubbed by some as a hippy idea that is a bit wishy-washy. This may be why some males do not engage well with it. According to Dr Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin, men prefer to speak in the language of logic which tends to be fact-driven and results-based. That is why Dr Davidson’s research has done wonders to win hearts and minds as he has proven that even short-term meditation training (30 minutes a day for eight weeks) alters the brain activity leading to long-lasting changes.
Kozo Hattori wrote an article entitled how to make Mindfulness more manly which followed on from the above research. Kozo described ways this practice could be made more appealing to men. He highlighted that even with current scientific evidence for using mindfulness two-thirds of classes are made up of females. The interesting approach taken by Zozo was to show that although group meditation sessions have connotations for men that push them away there are many practising mindfulness in other forms. A great example used is how in some sports athletes are taught to clear their mind by going through a routine of their sports like hitting a golf swing. This helps them get into the zone regularly so their performance is increased.
The Kozo article is helpful because it highlights how important positioning is when we are trying to engage with our audience. Mindfulness needs to be positioned in a way that it appeals to the male audience and it can be done by changing the terminology used. A great example of that was given by The Prison-Ashram project, started in 1975 by Bo and Sita Lozoff with Ram Dass. This project spoke to prisoners by using their language and removing the “fluffy” “emotional” language the prisoners did not want to hear. The result was that over fifty per cent of male prisoners were open to trying the intervention than a year previously.
Kozo also said that Mindfulness has to be adapted for the environment of the audience. For instance, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction has been used in the US military’s Marine Corps. This has massively helped the marines focus on their jobs, become more resilient in the line of fire and had helped manage anxiety and stress brought on by military duties. The courses have helped so much that Major Jeff Davis cannot think of an area that it hasn’t helped to improve and the effects have been dramatic.
Mindfulness is a mindset practice that can help a person develop resilience, focus and manage their stress. Now that it is being normalised in the school system more males will use it but for older men, it may have negative associations. For this group, it has been shown that focusing on the evidential outcomes, using the right language and meeting the men where they are is the best method to get them into this amazing practice.
Written by John Earls – Managing Director at The HeartBase
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