Simply put, mindfulness is the act of keeping our mind in the present moment. One of the common ways to practice mindfulness is through meditation. While meditation is a practice many people find helpful for their health and wellbeing, the term meditation might make us think of people sitting cross-legged repeating mantras to Tibetan meditation music. This might not appeal to all us blokes and may turn us away from the practice, but meditation is just one avenue to incorporate mindfulness into our lives.
A recent article by the Australian Psychological Society identified that Australians are the fourth biggest smartphone users in the world. Aussies spend an average of 2.5 hours per day on their phone; this equates to 38 days per year. These figures are not surprising when you think about it. Consider last time you were on the bus or at the pub, how many people had their eyes glued to their screens? How is all this time in front of a screen impacting our health and wellbeing?
It’s become fashionable in some circles to lump stoicism in with other, less than desirable traits like aggression, when talking about male behaviour. There is even an ongoing argument in the American Psychological Association about how it was controversially included as a harmful trait in their guidelines. Harvard professor, Steven Pinker argued the APA was misguided, “Stoicism is a good quality, not, as the new guidelines say, harmful”. He’s on the money when he argues that the guidelines should encourage “the masculine virtues — dignity, responsibility, self-control, and self-reliance.” All of these are the qualities and virtues of manhood that we should be celebrating.
Nobody goes into a marriage thinking that it will end in separation or divorce, however many blokes find that when their marriages do end, that separation and divorce are among the toughest experiences they will ever have to face. Blokes go through a range of intense emotions during this time, including loneliness and sadness; shock, hurt and bewilderment; anger and frustration and sometimes relief that differences are finally out in the open. These responses to distress are all perfectly normal. Thankfully, most blokes can face these challenges and go on living fulfilling and happy lives, keeping in mind of course that this does take time.
The term mental health encompasses all aspects of our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing, it affects how we feel, think and interact with the world around us. It’s important to acknowledge that “dealing with life’s challenges and changes” can be difficult at times and place our mental health and wellbeing under pressure. The effects of this will be different for all of us, as we all have an innate but varying capacity to cope and deal with these pressures.
We’ve all heard the old rule of thumb “8 glasses of water per day”. We shouldn’t be surprised to learn that this is an approximation for the average person and doesn’t consider gender or lifestyle. In fact, eight glasses a day might actually be leaving us dehydrated and the average intake for blokes might have to be revised upwards to about 13 glasses.
Vulnerability has many different connotations, for some people it may be when we:
- haven’t got adequate protection around us or mechanisms in place to protect our physical or emotional wellbeing i.e. family support;
- are extremely susceptible, which can be reflected in our individual capacity to cope or deal with stuff;
- are physically or psychologically weakened, which can inhibit our ability to resist illness and failure(hardship?)
Ironically, many of us “crack a Corona” after a long day at work as a way of easing stress, however many blokes and community members are currently feeling under the pump a little more than usual and therefore, a discussion around that discomfort is timely. The feeling of not being in control and the subsequent stress that we feel has probably never been more widespread than it is today with the threat of Covid19 (The Coronavirus) affecting not only Australia, but the world.
As blokes we are all aware that there are a range of steps, pills and behaviours that the women in our lives can take in the effort to conceive. An often-neglected part of the equation is how we as men look after our own health in order to maximise the chances of a successful conception. You know what they say, “It takes two to tango!”
Violence against an intimate partner or family member is an abhorrent and very real problem in Australia. It has catastrophic, long-term effects on men, women and children. It isn’t confined to just a small demographic either, as it crosses gender, cultural, socio-economic, religious and racial lines as well as sexual preference.