This week is Men's Health Week. As some of you may be aware, "the health status of males in most countries, including Australia, is generally poorer than that of females... More males die at every stages through the life course, more males have accidents, more males take their own lives and more males suffer from lifestyle-related health conditions than females at the same age."*
We would like to throw our support behind this great cause by sharing how mindfulness can help with your or your husband/ boyfriend/ partner/ brother/ father/ grand-father...'
1. Physical health
We spend up to 80% of our working hours seated but extended sitting puts you at increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. For over ten years, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute's (Baker IDI) Physical Activity laboratory has been researching the effects of sedentary behaviour on health, which have consistently shown the following health effects are associated with excessive sitting: greater risk of premature death greater risk of early death due to a cardiovascular event association with known risk factors of chronic disease.
2. Mental health
Due to various factors such as cultural, genetics and behavioral, mental health has been a difficult arena to combat for males. Beyond Blue estimates "men account for 75 per cent of deaths by suicide" in Australia.
How can mindfulness help:
Next time when you have spent too much time sitting at work, take a 20-minute walk. But instead of just walking mundanely on autopilot, be deliberately mindful and observe the sights, sounds, and smells you encounter—freshly cut grass, a beautiful building, a stranger’s smile.
Each time you notice something positive, take the time to absorb it and feel it in your body and enjoy it. This savouring involves coming back to the present, coming back to our senses – one of the two essential components of mindfulness. The other component, of course, is open hearted curiosity or non judgmental awareness.
On your subsequent Savouring Walks, strike out in different directions to seek new things to admire. Novelty keeps us engaged so we are less likely to start zoning out and walking on autopilot thinking about other things like work or something in the house that needs fixing.
There are 4 main destructive thought habits that we often experience in our daily lives: catastrophising, focusing on the negative, blaming and worrying. These thoughts can cause clinical anxiety and depression. By taking a mindful approach to those thought behaviours and cultivating the ability to be more aware of these mind traps will help you break free from them and shift your attention to more effective ways of interacting with life.
The mindfulness approach here is discussed in detail under our Resources section for the General Public. Click here for the full publication.
* See Men's Health Week official site here for near by events or donation