The Best Mindfulness Activity to Reduce Stress (for Men and Women)
If you’re wondering how a mindfulness activity can help you reduce stress and experience greater happiness, you’re in the right place.
Day in and day out, stressors abound. In both our work and home life, we all have to cope with the pressure to perform and provide.
The problem isn’t necessarily stress itself but the biological impact it can have on our health and happiness. One thing that’s been proven to reduce our stress and improve our happiness is practicing mindfulness.
In this post, I’ll get into what mindfulness really is (and how it doesn’t require deep meditation), how men and women each need a different type of mindfulness activity to reduce stress, and how to get started today if you’re totally new to mindfulness so you can feel calmer, centered, and effective in your life and relationships ASAP.
How a Mindfulness Activity Can Reduce Stress
Mindful living has been proven to lower your stress levels.
And, while there are so many activities being described as “mindfulness” these days, the underlying concept is really quite simple.
Mindfulness is simply connecting to what you're doing.
So you don't have to be sitting in deep meditation in order to be mindful.
You do, however, have to shift your attention from the unconscious to the conscious.
That’s how a mindfulness activity works.
The stress response of fight or flight exists in the unconscious. It's automatic.
It’s something that just happens inside of us.
During a stress response, there is increased blood flow to the back part of the brain, which is an unconscious reaction.
This is what causes the “fight or flight” response.
But practicing mindfulness shifts you back into the front part of your brain, also known as the prefrontal cortex.
This has been proven to help lower your stress levels and take you out of fight or flight.
So you can actually start reducing your stress today with a simple mindfulness activity.
Curious how it works? Let me explain...
The Best Beginner’s Mindfulness Activity
Reducing stress with mindfulness starts with learning a simple beginner’s meditation.
The purpose of this exercise is to become mindful of your breath.
Here’s how it’s done:
You breathe in, you breathe out, you breathe in, you breathe out.
You want to try breathing in a little deeper and holding it, then breathing out a little deeper each time.
When you become aware of your breathing and slightly adjust it, that's the beginning practice of mindfulness.
Why is this beneficial?
- When you become aware of your breathing…
- You're connecting the front part of your brain to the back part of your brain…
- And, as you gain a little control over your breathing...
- Then, the front part of your brain starts controlling the back part of the brain...
- And that allows you to be in present time.
Just by noticing your breath and controlling it, you’re helping connect the front part of your brain (the prefrontal cortex) to the back part of your brain.
You don't have to be thinking about it.
You just have to be noticing your breathing.
You can take this activity to the next level by…
- Breathing in to the count of four, holding for the count of four, and exhaling to the count of four.
- Breathing in to the count of four, holding for the count of five, and exhaling to the count of six.
The truth is that it doesn't matter which breathing rhythm you choose.
Just stick with one that keeps you alert, and where you're able to control your breathing in a very relaxed way, and that will help to relax you.
It’s a simple mindfulness activity that will reduce stress.
We can expand mindfulness beyond this breathing technique as well.
There are certain activities that men and women can do that will reduce their stress on a biological and hormonal level.
By doing certain activities, a man can actually generate more testosterone, which is necessary for him to cope with stress effectively.
Or, if you're a woman, you can produce more estrogen, which is going to help you manage your stress more effectively.
Let’s get into the different options for men and women.
How Women Can Reduce Stress With Mindfulness
If you're a woman and you want to lower your stress, you’ll need a mindfulness activity that will increase your female hormones.
Since both men and women tend to work in competitive, results-oriented environments nowadays, women have to lean on their masculine side to perform their job. This produces plenty of testosterone, which can be great for men but actually increases stress for a woman as it lowers certain female hormones that allow her to feel in balance.
When a woman is too far on her “male side,” her stress levels tend to go up.
So the key for a woman to reduce her stress is to come back, visit her female side, and stimulate more female hormones.
This simply requires doing an activity that you enjoy doing, which will produce estrogen or progesterone.
What might that be?
Well, there are two options I’d recommend for this type of mindfulness activity.
You could, for example...
- Go shopping and simply be mindful and present as you're looking for things.
You want to make sure that you have an intention of: "I'm doing this because I enjoy doing it."
Whenever you do something because you get to do it, like to do it, or love to do it, that becomes a mindfulness activity that will stimulate the creation of estrogen and progesterone hormones in women.
That will help to lower your stress and bring you back to your female side.
- Talk to your partner or friend by saying, "You know, I just want to talk about what I'm feeling inside."
The purpose of this talk is to simply feel better, not to change the other person.
So many times women or men will express their emotions to try to change their partner.
If you're trying to change your partner, it's not going to stimulate the right hormones.
That’s not a mindfulness activity.
What you want to do is share your feelings with the awareness that if you do, it will produce estrogen or progesterone and that helps to lower your stress.
So mindfulness is always:
- Doing something
- Being present
- Knowing why you're doing it
And, if you’re a woman, that means doing something that's going to allow you to feel:
- A greater sense of connection
- A greater sense of ease
- A greater sense of feeling safe
So what do you do as a man to become more mindful and reduce stress?
Because talking about your feelings isn’t going to have the same effect on you. Men need a different set of tools to create their necessary hormone balance for happiness and calm.
Let’s get into that now...
How Men Can Reduce Stress With Mindfulness
If you're a man and you want to lower your stress, you’ll need a mindfulness activity that will increase your male hormone testosterone.
For men to be mindful, first, do your exercise.
If you’re a man, and you do anything to use your muscles with the intent of building muscles, also think to yourself “I'm doing this to produce testosterone that will lower my stress.”
Just being aware of the stress-reducing outcome that you want while you're doing something that's stimulating those hormones is a practical tool for finding your mindfulness.
Because what mindfulness does is it puts you in present time, so you're not letting the past control you.
And you're not worrying about the future.
Instead, you're being right where you are, present, getting the result you're looking for through the action that you're doing.
You can also make the following a mindfulness activity by simply being present with:
- Your eating
Notice that you’re eating for the purpose of getting vegetables because they've got vitamins. Or notice when you’re getting protein from proteins.
- When you take supplements
I'm a big fan of taking supplements. It's very important to be mindful when you actually take the supplement. Ask “Why am I taking this supplement?” and remember what it’s doing for you.
Men, if you're feeling stressed, go for a drive. One of my favorite things to do under stress is to go for a drive in my car. Whenever you're in a car and you're driving safely, your body knows you're in danger, but your mind knows you're safe. And that puts you into a mindful state. Driving boats is another option.
- Athletic activities
For men particularly, doing athletic activities is a mindfulness activity, as long as you're aware of your goal and you feel safe at the same time.
There is also one more mindfulness activity that can work wonders for both men and women.
Curious what it is? I’ll tell you.
One Mindfulness Activity That Works for Both Men and Women
Dancing for both men and women can be an excellent mindfulness activity.
Especially, if you're aware that “I'm doing this for the purpose of lowering my stress levels.”
For a woman, having a man lead you in a dance is very stimulating of estrogen.
Doing dances that you enjoy doing is going to produce your progesterone.
And, for a man, doing a dance where you're...
- Leading a woman
- Guiding a woman
- Following certain steps in order for her to feel safe and know she can depend on you...
… that's a mindfulness activity that increases testosterone.
So remember, mindfulness is simply connecting with what you're doing.
It’s connecting to the purpose of what you’re doing, and knowing:
- What is the outcome?
- What is that outcome doing for me or doing for someone else?
So these are just a few tips to help expand your awareness of mindfulness.
And show you how to incorporate more mindful living into your day to day, because it's been proven to lower your stress levels.
Again, you don't have to be sitting in deep meditation in order to reap the benefits of mindfulness. That’s not the only mindfulness activity.
Yes, you can begin by noticing your breathing.
But you can also be mindful in all your activities.
If you're aware of what you're doing and why it is benefiting you or someone else, that's being mindful.
Grow in love,
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