Can some men really be thinking about nothing? How to communicate with men. Male/female brain differences.

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As a woman, I find the existence of a ‘Nothing Box’ extraordinary.  A place where a man can go and either think about nothing or do something totally mindless.  I do know the reason – and that is how the male/female brain interconnects.  The brain has 2 halves – a left side and a right side and these are connected by bundles of nerve fibres called the corpus callosum, pictured to the right.  The female brain has many more inter-side connections than the male.  In the female brain actions like talking, reading, listening are performed on both sides of the brain,  and so the average female brain is far more interconnected than the average male brain – which does these things on only one side of the brain.  And this is why Pastor Mark Gungor tells us that if we talk to a man, ideally we talk about one subject only since most men’s brains compartmentalise subjects into separate boxes – be it the holiday box, the bill box, cousin Mary’s mother’s brother’s fiance’s sister’s box or whatever.  As females it is very easy for us to talk about bill paying, flit to needing a new light shade in the hall, and taking in Wendy and Bill’s wonderful Christmas holidays to the Galapagos on the way.  If this sounds familiar and we are trying to tell the man in our life something he has to pay attention to, in order to stand a chance of that registering, it will help to stay on the subject.  Of course, the subject could be we need to cut down the bills in order to save for cousin Mary’s mother’s brother’s wedding, which will take place in the Galapagos in August and we have been invited.  And we still may need to tell him this more than once – an important point to remember.

So this difference has its up sides and down sides for both sexes.  In times of stress, it is very easy for the male to switch off which sounds enviable. However, it can lead to a head in the sand, lets pretend this isn’t happening mentality – or it can be perceived as being uncaring.  Most females do not have this switch off capability – and we can be real worrywarts.  So we become very aware of what is happening – but unfortunately also very aware of everything else that could possibly happen, so not only do we not switch off from worrying, we can also catastrophise much more than men.  If this sounds familiar, then it is worth talking to each other about this difference and finding some understanding for each other instead of descending into rows or silence.  And the best possible course of action is to cuddle each other instead of shouting at each other, since this raises the stress reducing oxytocin in both partners.  Click on the linked blog for more information.

Having a nothing box must make meditation easier for men than for women.  Since meditation involves stilling the mind, as a female, I find this virtually impossible for more than a few seconds at a time and I cannot tell you how nice it is knowing it is my corpus callosum at work rather than my mind having the concentration powers of a gnat on cocaine.  Meditation is very good for everybody, and since part of the practice is self-acceptance and recognition of what the mind is thinking about, we women have a good start point,’corpus callosum, corpus callosum’.  Makes a change from repeating, ‘thinking, thinking…… judging, judging’ (meaning ‘Heavens, I’m hopeless at meditation’).

As always with male/female brain differences, we are all individual and not all men have a nothing box to retreat to.  I will be surprised if any women do, though.

2 Responses to “Can some men really be thinking about nothing? How to communicate with men. Male/female brain differences.”

  1. Brock 2018-01-30

    On the website Profusion, they did a study of 30 people. The participants engaged in exercise then reported their mental state from the exercise after, while also taking biometric data. Half the people reported thinking about nothing, and six female individuals reported thinking about nothing. I believe none of the participants were told about the nothing box.

    • Clare Harding 2018-01-31

      I’m impressed that anyone can think about nothing for more than a nano-second! This silliness apart, the male/female brain difference is fraught. It seems we are so deeply conditioned into our sexuality, right from birth, that it is very difficult to unravel nature v nurture.


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