Luke Bache is an internationally experienced Yoga teacher, Mindfulness coach and an ambassador for Casall sportswear. Here he shares his thoughts and tips on the importance of Mindfulness, and how it might help in your trading...
There was recently a study taken by the scholar Matthew Killingsworth on happiness. Now, before you roll your eyes about another study on happiness, this one was different.
This was taken in real time. 15,000 people in 83 countries had an app and recorded their emotional state in real time. At random intervals during the day they were asked; about their mood, what they were doing, levels of productivity, quality of sleep and their social interactions. They had over half a million responses.
A major finding of the study is that people's minds wander around 50% of their time and this lowers their mood. It doesn't matter what you are doing, if your mind is wandering your mood is lowered and vice versa, if you are present your mood will be much better.
Stop yearning for greener grass
Is this symptomatic of the culture we live in? In the West when we think about what would make us happy we usually think of the intensity of the experience; buying a villa in the South of France, getting a promotion, going on a date with a movie star. But what if this is all wrong? Could this be encouraging our minds to always be looking for something better, something that isn't right here now?
The frequency of your positive experiences is much more important according to the psychologist Ed Steiner. This is where yoga and mindfulness comes in, to help us slow down and be in the moment. It isn't the intensity of the experience but the frequency. The small stuff matters. So enjoy the comfy shoes you wear, put down your phone and give your partner a big kiss, sneak in that favourite guilty snack, occasionally!
As we all know habits are hard to break so how can we create habits that help us slow down, enjoy life more and help us focus better when we want to?
Start the day how you want to continue
When you wake up in a morning, before you jump out of bed in a rushed state, take the time for a few conscious breaths. Take 10 full breaths in and 10 longer exhalations out, trying to feel each one from start to finish.
This will not only bring awareness to your breath but by taking a longer exhalation you are bringing your nervous system more into its calm state. This state becomes your norm for the day, helping you deal more cooly with everyday stressors that may arise.
Do one thing at a time
Instead of cleaning your teeth and walking around the house or making the tea and watching TV, or speaking to a loved one whilst texting, take time to do just one thing. Set aside one activity each day, for example cleaning your teeth, and commit your full attention to this activity.
Feel the brush against your teeth, tongue and gums. Taste the flavour of the toothpaste, sense the pressure you are applying with your hand. Soon you will notice that not only the thoughts quieting down, but that even seemingly “mundane” things can provide wonderful moments of joy and silence.
Every time the mind wanders see if you can let the thoughts pass and come back to the activity you are doing. This is helping us focus on what we want and let go of what we don't. This awareness builds up the decision-making part of the brain, the pre-frontal cortex, allowing us to make better decisions in life.
Finish each day with the conscious breathing and then thinking of five things that you were grateful for in your day. This is creating neural pathways in the brain that help us focus on gratitude and appreciation. These emotions are associated with what has been dubbed, 'a state of flow'.
Think of Roger Federer or Lebron James when they get into that place where every move, every shot works perfectly. The flow is a place where people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. We have all experienced this state where everything feels easy, as we perform to our optimum, mentally, physically and physiologically. So when we start to practice it consciously it is hacking into the brain and making this the norm!
So taking just a few minutes everyday to slow down, breathe and be grateful can have profound effects on your everyday life at work and in relationships. A small ask for such a huge benefit.
Now and then it's good to pause in your pursuit for happiness and just be happyGuillaume Apollinaire