By: Michael Apollo
In honor of this months focus on men’s health it’s worth exploring some new ways in approaching ourselves and the environment around us. And, because we’re men, exploring the warrior seems a good start.
Meditation has been used by martial art traditions around the world as the highest form of training – the main essence being; you’ve mastered your body, now it’s time to master your mind.
Science is increasingly showing us that mindfulness; the ability to place your attention on purpose in the present moment without judging what’s happening – can cause massive changes in your brain and your health.
Mindfulness is the first ability we work on in meditation training, it’s pretty simple… but not easy. You place your attention and maintain it on a physical anchor (i.e. your breath or body) and notice when and where you drift away. When this happens without any self-criticism we pull it back onto the anchor and continue the practice.
So how the heck is this linked to becoming a warrior and men’s health? This simple mindfulness practice is now regarded as one of the foremost tools to reduce stress, depression, tension and anxiety – and on the performance side it builds mental armor, sniper cognitive abilities and courage.
Stress, tension and anxiety while physically real, are based on our perception – the first thing to tackle these symptoms is to heighten your self-awareness, we do this in our mindfulness meditation training through body scans and heightening our attention on the present moment. It creates a high resolution image of our bodies in real-time, making us aware enough to chillout, go for a walk or take a few deep breaths and to release wherever we might be wearing our tension (shoulders, stomach, etc.)
Until we train our mind, we’re a slave to it. Social anxiety, jealousy, fear and anger are all things we can work on to become more skillful and effective. This is developed in our training and from my experience is a powerful tool that we can call on anytime we need. If you find yourself worrying about the past or future, take a breath, tune into your surroundings and check in on what your mind is focused on, it could mean the difference between a detrimental reaction and a skillful response.
So, next time you have a chance, drop in and check in on what the warrior within is up to – if he’s running around rampant causing trouble maybe it’s time to give him a healthy dose of mindfulness.
May you be well and happy Mobros and Mosistas!
Michael Apollo is a Mindfulness Stress Therapist, Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach and founder of the Modern Meditation Program. If you would like to learn more about Michael please visit www.modernmeditation.ca