By: Daniel C. Finley

The Mind Space Exercise

During difficult times, some financial advisors find their emotional state tethered to the stock market, when the market is up they are elated but when the market is down they are deflated.

Norman Vincent Peale said it best, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

Does this sound familiar? Are you running your internal state of mind based on external events? If so, it’s important note that this can change and you can learn a healthier way to live.

One of the best ways to manage your emotional state is to use an exercise I call The Mind Space Exercise. Let’s take a look at a step-by-step process that I had one of my veteran financial advisor clients go through to get and stay in the right frame of mind.

Step 1: Identify Positive Morning Activities/Triggers

Typically, when you have a good day or a bad day it is likely attributed to various recent events. An example would be a day where your alarm didn’t go off, you get a flat tire or your biggest client unexpectedly transfers out, those would feel like a bad day. But, what if you knew the things that were in your control could help you start the day off right? The first step is to identify the top three positive activities (or what I call positive triggers) that you could do each morning to help you set the tone for having a good day.

Joshua K., a veteran financial advisor with twenty years of experience is no stranger to both Bull and Bear markets. He finds himself in a state of situational depression each time the Bear market hits. Recently, we decided to change that by having him identify his top three positive triggers in the morning before his day begins. He chose meditation, a workout and to arrive at work knowing exactly what he is going to do for the day.

Step 2: Rate Your Morning Mind Space Number

The second step is to be aware of how you are emotionally feeling when you start your workday so that you have a baseline of where you are. Use a simple 1-10 (with 1 being lowest and 10 being highest) AFTER you complete your three positive activities and before you start your workday. I call this The Mind Space Exercise.

When we began The Mind Space Exercise Joshua was typically rating his Morning Mind Space Number at a 1, 2 or 3 but what he found was that by doing his three positive activities each morning he was building new habits which helped him feel in control regardless of how the stock market was doing. As a result, his morning numbers gradually increased to 5, 6 and 7 which lifted him out of his situational depression.

Step 3: Identify Positive Afternoon Activities/Triggers

The third step is to continue to stay in a positive state of mind into the afternoon by having three additional positive activities to focus on. Each person is different but see if you can relate to what Josh did!

He decided that laughter was important and having business success was a must. As a result he said that his afternoon positive triggers were to laugh at least once each hour, prospect every day and to have set one appointment with a prospect or a client.

Step 4: Rate Your Afternoon Mind Space Number

The fourth step is to be aware of how you are emotionally feeling at the end of the workday. If your afternoon number is higher than in the morning you are most certainly going in the right direction!

Each day I would receive his afternoon Mind Space Number and I noticed a pattern. When he first began, his morning and afternoon numbers were very low which was to be expected. They gradually increased as he formed new positive habits. He did plateau but his morning number rarely dropped below a 7 and his afternoon numbers only on occasion dropped below an 8. Overall, Josh was a much happier person!

Why the Mind Space Exercise Works

When it comes to inner peace you really have two choices, leave it up to chance or have a process for obtaining and sustaining it. The reason why the aforementioned steps work well is because it gives your mind a task, a focus. And, when your mind is oriented positively a majority of the time, it’s most assuredly likely to remain positive!

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