Listen up men! A new study coming out of Australia indicates that women were more attracted to men who had higher levels of dispositional mindfulness. Men who on a character trait survey reported higher levels of mindfulness and mindful behaviors including attentiveness, focus, and nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, correlated with higher women’s preferences in a speed-dating arena. Researchers controlled for physical attraction and were able to isolate mindfulness as an influential variable in women’s preferences in these short, first-time interactions in a dating setting.
Why would being mindful make a man more attractive to a woman? This question is the direction for future research, but current thought is that the men who reported higher levels of dispositional mindfulness may be more attentive and interested during these initial interactions with women. It is no surprise that a romantic partner would like to feel like they are appreciated and listened to. Another hypothesis is that the more mindful men are better able to allow distressing feelings of anxiety and self-consciousness to be there without becoming dysregulated by the emotions. They are using mindfulness as a strategy to help regulate their emotions in the challenging environment of speed dating, which the woman then observes as a relaxed, confident presentation.
Mindfulness has already been shown to help individuals reduce anxiety and depression, and improve their own lives as well as interpersonal relationships. Relationships can be difficult to navigate when there are inevitable differences in opinion, values, judgment, or behavior. Mindfulness offers a way of being where one can nonjudgmentally accept and appreciate the differences they have with their partner, and make room for discomfort, disappointment, or tension.
How often do relationships fall into a pattern of arguing, blaming, judging, resenting, and withdrawing/avoiding one’s partner? Being mindful is the best way to take a step back when getting drawn into an argument or fight, and instead acknowledge and allow the intense emotions to be there and then pass, without reacting to them. Knee jerk reactions when feeling angry, hurt, or frustrated can lead to further hurt and damage in a relationship. Remember that mindfulness, awareness, and acceptance are always alternative ways of responding in the moment.
For these reasons, as well as others not mentioned, increasing mindfulness is an easy and smart way to both improve yourself and relationships as well as increase your attractiveness to a potential mate. Slow down, smell the roses, enjoy life, let the distressing thoughts and feelings come and go, and take a committed step towards going after the relationship you want!