While many men are militant about going to the gym to maintain their physical bodies, the same can’t be said for maintaining a healthy mind. One of the ways to achieve a better body/mind balance is through the practice of mindfulness.
Although it's long been perceived as more of a feminine practice, an increasing number of men have started to give it a try. One such man is Hong Kong psychologist Sebastian Droesler, who's worked with many multinational companies to implement mindfulness programs.
We sat down with Droesler to find out what first attracted him to practicing mindfulness and the benefits it offers men.
How did you get into mindfulness?
About 10 years ago, I was looking for a way to reduce stress, improve my focus and open my awareness to myself, others and the environment around me. Mindfulness was the perfect solution.
Soon after I started to familiarise with it, my relationships improved—in particular my own marriage. My daily agenda became clearer and I developed a much higher sense of ease in my thinking and behaviour.
How do men in particular benefit from practicing mindfulness?
Mindfulness can really help men to broaden and deepen two things: maintain a high focus of attention and increase awareness. We need both.
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How does mindfulness help with the mind/body imbalance?
This question reflects precisely where lots of men stand. We do our workout and of course feel the positive effects on our body image and mood. That's great, [but] it's not enough. And a lot of men know that—they can feel something deeper is missing.
With anything in life you can be mindful or mindless about it. In other words: you have a choice of doing versus being. [Life] can become mindless: mechanical, unfulfilling and empty. But you can also mindfully savour every second of the moment, [and] show up as fully as you are.
What are some other health benefits of mindfulness training?
Living more mindfully will improve all areas of life. Things like diet, time management, relationships, your workout, social life, your emotional and spiritual connections. Scientific research has shown that there are lots of direct health benefits on your immune system, blood pressure, focus, digestion and sleep.
What gave you the idea to start the Hong Kong Mindful Men’s Group?
Finding like-minded brothers is key to living life fully, [and] many men want to immerse into another dimension beyond their usual circles of work and family life. I am starting a new group of like-minded men at the end of April 2017. Happy to welcome any man interested.
In your experience, are men becoming more receptive to practicing mindfulness?
Men in general more frequently want to develop their consciousness and presence. That is masculine energy through and through. Men also want to know what their purpose is in life and how to better deal with distractions, as well as mastering challenges in their relationships.
In a nutshell, mindfulness is about how a man shows up in life. You can bring aliveness into everything you do, from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night. It is a choice to stay awake and away from autopilot.
Sebastian Droesler is a Counselling Psychologist based in Hong Kong. His weekly Mindful Men’s Group will begin at the end of April 2017.
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