In an interview with ETMarkets, Damania, a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years of rich experience tracking the Indian and Global stock markets, said: “Investors and traders, in particular, experience severe mental stress during market movements. This is why they must practice Yoga and meditation.” Edited excerpts:
Thanks for being part of the show Sunil. You have mastered the art when it comes to investment and stock picking, but what about mental fitness. How do you manage that in your daily hectic routine?
Fitness brings a harmonious balance to one’s life when both physical and mental fitness is combined. Concerning mental wellness, one’s mind must be in complete harmony with the surroundings.
Syncing your mind with the surroundings ensures a stress-free atmosphere. So then, how do you ensure you are in harmony with your surroundings?
One of the best ways to do that is not to think too much about the past nor worry too much about the future.
Living in the present means becoming aware of your surroundings. Try absorbing what is available around you to reduce stress and make you mentally fit.
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In my career, I have witnessed several people going through stress within a work environment. And one of the reasons is that some of those individuals could not come to terms with their job profiles.
In some other cases, many experienced stark frictions between what they wanted to do and what they were doing. All these factors lead to stress.
Stress occurs when there is a lack of harmony between what you are supposed to do and what you are doing.
Hence, it is crucial to love what you do to help conquer stress. I practice this daily – I ensure that I love what I do to stay at the peak of my mental capacity.
Is there is any specific form of Yoga you have been practicing?
vrajasana, pranayama, anuloma, viloma, kapalbati etc. every day. I also ensure that I incorporate stretches, spot-running and daily meditations.
All these activities ensure that my mind and body work together in unison.
We constantly battle the mind and environment during the better part of the day.
Hence, I consciously take the time to concentrate on pranayam, meditation and Yoga to introspect and understand what I am doing and if I am doing the right thing.
And that’s why I ensure I spend at least one hour in the morning being mindfully in the moment with my mind and body aware of my surroundings.
What about meditation? Is there a specific modality you follow when it comes to meditation?
I practice a basic form of meditation; being mindful of when I inhale and exhale. This action helps concentrate on one particular activity.
Over the years, I have seen that one of the reasons most people experience stress because they multi-task beyond their capacities.
Multi-tasking does not allow you to give due attention to a specific action. And that creates some friction between what you are supposed to deliver and what you are not supposed to.
Focusing and concentrating on doing just one thing at a time will enable you to finish that work in the shortest period. Also, the output will be far superior in terms of quality.
For instance, when you inhale, you must focus only on inhaling. So don’t worry about the exhale. Similarly, when you exhale, don’t worry about inhaling.
Being in the moment helps you improve concentration and gives you peace of mind because there is only one thing you concentrate on at a particular time. And that’s the primary form of meditation that I follow.
Health is Wealth! 1-hr of yoga and meditation can help you navigate through market volatility: Sunil Damania
“Incorporating a few good practices in our lives, such as Yoga and meditation, can help resolve 90% of our daily problems,” says Sunil Damania, Chief Investment Officer, MarketsMojo.
How meditation and Yoga helped you when at work or in your personal life? Do you recommend this to every investor/trader?
I firmly believe that meditation and Yoga help a great deal in concentrating, introspecting and spending quality with oneself without being distracted by digital gadgets or other people’s conversations.
I recommend every Indian citizen to practice Yoga and meditation rather than only traders or investors. One particular comes to mind, which reinforces my belief in the power of meditation and Yoga.
In 2018, 12 Thai boys were trapped in a cave for two weeks. They survived the cave ordeal by keeping their calm through meditation.
No one cried, and all 12 of them stayed calm. It was astonishing. This convinces me that despite any resources at their disposal or no one to help them, meditating was the only crucial factor that helped keep the group alive.
I request everyone to practice meditation and Yoga to harmonize their mind, body and surroundings. Once that peace settles, it becomes a self-healing property.
Investors and traders, in particular, experience severe mental stress during market movements. This is why they must practice Yoga and meditation.
This is because the market is beyond anyone’s control. It could fluctuate contrary to your expectation, and when something goes contrary to expectations, it creates physical and mental stress. Yoga or meditation is key to relieving and releasing physical tension.
Profit and loss are part of life, and we know that every stock, might not become a multibagger. What do you do on a bad day at work?
Good and bad days are part and parcel of our life. The key to getting around them is not to get too excited on the good days or too discouraged about the bad ones.
Your mood or emotions should not revolve around your day but how you tackle a bad day that defines you as a person and character.
The moment you accept that good and bad are part and parcel of life, without reacting negatively, you will be able to breeze through life.
I don’t think you need to do something special when a day is bad. Because when you prepare your mental frame of mind, despite a good or bad outcome, you know it’s a temporary phase you can handle.
When investing in the stock market, we need to be mentally prepared that not all stocks will perform as expected.
The moment you accept that realization, you mentally steel yourself and prepare for any adverse outcome with calm and composure.
The problem is not a bad day. The problem is how you react to a bad day that defines whether it will cascade into more problems or limit the cascading effect.
Tell us how you got inspired to get into mental fitness?
I realized the power of mental and physical fitness early in life. I have also imbibed several important values from my family. We have always been very conscious about our physical and psychological wellness.
From Yoga to eating sattvic foods, we have practiced these as part and parcel of our family culture.
Even in school, our teachers emphasized good deal on mental and physical fitness. So, I personally believe that fitness is very critical. But unfortunately, in India, many of us focus more on physical fitness, not mental wellness.
Incorporating a few good practices in our lives, such as Yoga and meditation, can help resolve 90% of our daily problems.
Another aspect that determines one’s mental fitness is the people we surround ourselves with. Toxic mentalities and conversations can also impact one’s mental fitness.
Hence, as an individual, it is crucial to make a conscious decision on whom to spend quality time with.
(Disclaimer: Recommendations, suggestions, views and opinions given by the experts are their own. These do not represent the views of Economic Times)