Saturday, October 25, 2014

Three Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Life

One of my favorite quotes is from Nietzsche:  "Under peaceful conditions, a warlike man sets upon himself."  In other words, when life becomes comfortable, that's when it's time to think about pushing boundaries and taking on worthy challenges.  Not all of those boundary pushings need to be market related.  Here are three things the research literature tells us we can do to make meaningful life improvements right now:

1)  Engage in Physical Exercise - Important research shows that aerobic exercise has tremendous brain benefits, particularly as we age.  These include improvement of memory and overall health.  Physical exercise also helps to moderate stress and reduces susceptibility to depression and anxiety.  Interestingly, there may be different brain benefits associated with resistance vs. aerobic training, suggesting that an exercise regimen of both is ideal.  Exercise benefits children as well as young and older adults, and it brings particular benefits to our executive brain functions, so key to real-time decision making.

2)  Build Positive Relationships - Building positive relationships brings a variety of benefits to life, including better health and overall emotional well-being.  People in significant relationships are happier than people who are not and produce fewer stress hormones.  In fact, being in a relationship with a healthy person tends to promote one's own health!  Physical affection, from hugs to sex, also brings meaningful health benefits

3)  Improve Your Sleep - It is easy to take sleep for granted, but both the quantity and quality of sleep bring meaningful life benefits.  These include improvement in memory, longevity and quality of life, lower disease levels, enhanced creativity, and improved physical performance among athletes.  Over time, a consistent loss of 60-90 minutes of sleep per night creates a "sleep debt" that adversely impacts our emotional well-being, cognitive functioning, and overall health.   

In short, there are important links between how we manage our lives and how we manage our trading accounts and investments.  Olympic athletes know that they have to be in flawless condition to achieve peak performance.  Rarely, however, do we think of ourselves as performance professionals and train accordingly, creating lifestyle habits that enhance all facets of life.

Further Reading:  Making Peak Performance a Lifestyle