No matter what you choose to call them...Hamsters, Handlebars, Caterpillars, Soup Strainers, Lady Ticklers, Muzzys, Mustachios or just plain ol’ fashioned Mo’s...you may well have noticed an abnormally high number of face rugs around this month.
You’d be forgiven for thinking it was some kind of coordinated act of defiance by men refusing to shave. Either that or a worldwide retrospective of the Village People. But the truth is something far more interesting. For in recent years, cleanly-shaven and slightly dull November has been transformed, in to the hairier, sexier and highly anticipated Movember, as part of a worldwide campaign to raise awareness of men’s health issues - in particular that of prostate and testicular cancer.
Having had testicular cancer myself over the summer - losing one of the crown jewels in the process - this is something I feel particularly passionate about. Obviously I’m passionate about encouraging every aspect of men’s health, and women’s health too for that matter, but this is just one area which could so easily be improved. Let’s face it guys, when it come to personal health issues, we’re not the best at keeping track, nevermind discussing these things with partners, friends or the local doctor.
In fact before I go any further, when was the last time you had a good feel of your testicles? No, not like that, but to check them for any abnormalities? When was the last time you checked your partner’s testicles, assuming they’re male of course? This can be fun after all. Needless to say, if you’re reading this at work or on the train, now is not the time to do it. But please do it when you get home.
There is nothing to be gained by putting it off and everything to be gained by checking today. And if you should find something you’re worried about, go and visit the doctor. There really is nothing to worry about and they’ll have seen thousands of testicles in their time - maybe even tens of thousands if we count both of them - so no need to be embarrassed. It could save your life. It saved mine.
As the founder of Headspace, much of my time is spent encouraging people to look after the health of their mind by taking some time out each day. Apart from feeling calmer and clearer, there is some great scientific evidence showing it improves our physical health too.
But of course there are some things that happen in life which are out of our control, no matter how well we take care of ourselves. Having a clear, calm mind and a good sense of perspective in these situations is invaluable and is just one more good reason to treat your head right. Knowing you have the necessary tools at hand to live through such situations is an amazing and precious thing.
Last week I flew over to the UK to join the boys from Movember, where their main sponsors, Gillette have opened "The Best A Mo Can Get" pop-up store in London for the month of November in aid of men's health. To help support this, I have a talk entitled "Testicles, Meditation, Mindfulness and More".
But whatever you do, don't forget to check your balls.
If you're keen to discover how you could have a calmer and clearer mind, no matter what's going on in life, then make sure you check out Headspace or download the Headspace on-the-go app for our free meditation app trial.