You line up the shot. You take a deep breath. All of your focus, awareness, and attention in that moment is set on your objective. Everything fades away. You exhale. Around you is nothing but silence. Your mind is empty. You take the shot. You hit it.
Many men call this being in the flow, being in the zone, hitting their sweet spot, or any other terminology they can come up with to describe a moment of being mindfully centered. Sports require a certain level of mindfulness, which many men do not realize they are practicing. Yet when it comes to sitting down to practice something like mindful meditation, men find it difficult to engage in.
In fact, a study by Brown University from April of 2017 found that mindfulness was not as effective for men as it was for women. Men showed an increase in negative effect from mindfulness whereas women experienced a decrease. Greater Good Magazine by UC Berkeley suggests that part of the reason men struggle in their transition to more spiritually centered mindfulness is because of the empathy and compassion associated with the practice.
Traditionally, men are taught that emotional vulnerability of any kind is a danger to them. Sports-based mindfulness provides no threat because there is an objection based on winning. Men are conditioned to resist deep emotional exploration or the expression of any kind of emotional vulnerability. Mindfulness for them, is a struggle.
However, mindfulness does not have to be a struggle or overly concerned with either empathy or compassion. Just like the simplicity of a focused moment in a sports game, mindfulness can be incredibly easy. Pausing to take a breath is a practice of mindfulness. Noticing the feel of the sunlight, the sound of the rain, the smell of the earth- all these sensory practices are practices of mindfulness and are beneficial, providing results.
The cultivation of empathy and compassion is something that men can develop overtime through therapy, treatment, and building a brotherhood with other recovering men. Forcing feeling sensations men aren’t prepared to feel can be a trigger for relapse. Sensory and activity based mindfulness, including the simple act of focused breathing, can help men navigate the unfamiliar waters of becoming more in touch with their emotions.
Men leave the treatment program at Tree House Recovery in peak physical shape after months of rigorous strengthening, conditioning, and adventure. Our innovative approach to recovery transforms men’s lives, from the inside out. Call us today for information: (855) 202-2138