What is the relationship between practicing mindfulness and your brain?
The purpose of this site is to help you become a better trader, not to turn you into an expert in mindfulness meditation.
So it is much more about ‘doing it’ than explaining it.
But it is inevitable, and desirable, that you will wish to gain some insight into how practicing mindfulness impacts on your brain functions.
After all, having some understanding of the connections between mindfulness and your brain will help you to have confidence in how this skill can help your trading.
And, when you start to wonder if it is worth the effort to practice mindfulness before you start to see the results, this will also help you build the commitment that is needed to succeed.
The Relationship of Mindfulness and Your Brain
So what happens in your brain when you practice mindfulness?
I try to approach things from a scientific view point and always avoid simply accepting something on the basis of some reference to a semi-magical process that is not properly explained.
I also don’t accept claims that are based simply on some ancient knowledge that has been discovered.
Modern scientific investigation always trumps mysteries or ancient knowledge in my opinion.
Of course, I also accept that science cannot explain everything (yet!).
And I keep an open mind so as not to become cynical about something just because I don’t understand it.
However, I’m not a neuroscientist and psychology was not my first primary training.
So, rather than simply replicate what others say, I will direct you to a couple of short videos that explore the subject.
They are mostly non-technical and well worth the time for anyone who has questions about how mindfulness works and how the practice impacts on the functioning of your brain.
Two Useful Videos
The first video is by Mind the Bump and is, rather helpfully, entitled Mindfulness and How the Brain Works. It’s a nice introduction.
The second video by Professor Mark Williams from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre is entitled The Science of Mindfulness and goes into the science a little bit more deeply.
The Process and the Objective
A lot of progress is being made in understanding how meditation affects the brain.
But it remains less than fully understood.
Much greater progress has been made on the impact of meditation on performance because it is much more straightforward to base studies on observation of outcomes rather than processes when dealing with how people make decisions.
So, while it is correct to have some understanding of the relationship between mindfulness and you brain, don’t insist on a full understanding before putting it into practice.
Sometimes, you need to focus on the destination rather than the road that leads there.
Using mindfulness to improve your trading is one such example.