MORE ZEN THAN MEN?
That’s the surprising takeaway from a new study conducted at Brown University, which found that women’s brains are better primed to receive meditation’s payoffs. Female meditators in a 12-week course saw more of a decrease in negative emotions like irritation, sadness and shame than the dudes in the class did. The women also got a bump in their mindfulness and self-compassion skills. The exact reason for the gender gap is unclear, but study authors believe it could be due to the different ways men and women process emotion: Women tend to ruminate on negative thoughts, while men distract themselves. Through meditation, the women may have learned to better manage that bummer internal chatter by noticing it and acknowledging it, without going down the rabbit hole of worrying. The authors believe meditating for even five or 10 minutes daily is the best way to improve mindfulness, but smaller tweaks also help. Allow 100 percent of your brain to engage in the present—even with things as mundane as washing dishes and tying your shoes— by not letting other thoughts (“did I pay that bill?”) take your mind off the task.