Thailand is a land of many interesting places to explore. More than the adventurous spots, the country is also known for its meditation temples. It has, in fact, become one of the tourism offerings. Some of the meditation and retreat centres in Thailand cater to foreigners who want to experience authentic healing of the mind.
Mediation is an important aspect of having a holistic healthy living. It is something regarded as essential but overlooked activity. Exercising the mind is vital for poker players. Whether you are hobby poker player or a professional, meditation should be squeezed in your schedule. Why? Meditation has many benefits. Let’s break it down.
Meditation equates to happiness.
Our brain is accustomed to functioning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No rests in between. When thoughts become too preoccupied with the future instead of the present moment, it becomes problematic. Previous studies have shown that even boring thoughts are detrimental to overall happiness. Meditation increases the ability to focus on the present moment – the very thing that poker players must acquire. Happiness through mindful meditation allows poker players to concentrate on the game and even adjust their attitude towards a hand or a bad play.
Meditation reduces stress.
Heavy poker players are admittedly affected by stress. This is not good for their decision-making process during a game. Meditation can help poker players to process their emotions better, allowing them to make better decisions during their poker sessions.
Meditation improves mental faculties.
Playing poker is more than just having lady luck by your side. You must have skills and strong cognitive abilities to deduce possible plays. When you meditate every day, you exercise your brain on a daily basis allowing it to develop the strength it needs to cope up with the mental stresses a poker game may bring.
Meditation is for everyone. It is not exclusive to monks and experts. There are different ways to meditate. This can be achieved through Tai Chi, mantra meditation, or Qi-gong. Yoga is also a great way to meditate. It has become popular in the last decade that even MMA fighters from Thailand also do yoga to increase their mental abilities, recover from a fight, and increase their flexibility and mobility.
If you find it difficult to focus, which already affects your ability to make proper calls during your poker game, it might be best to try your hand at mindful meditation. Mindful meditation is a technique that allows you to be observant while being non-reactive to thought stimuli, emotions, and physiological responses. This cognitive and intention-based process allows you to self-regulate and bring your focus back to the “now.”
Poker players can largely benefit from mindful meditation especially when they are in tournaments. Their thoughts and actions done during mindful meditation can be used reorient your mind to what is in the present – your cards, your opponent, and the deck of cards. This technique does not need a big space and does not take long. Even a good 10 minutes of this activity can help you “get in the zone.”
Here’s a quick guide to get that 10-minute of mindful meditation that will help you win that coveted WSOP bracelet.
Sure, mindful meditation can be done anywhere but it takes time to master it. But once you are committed, investing time for it, the benefits will return to you a thousand-fold.
Practicing meditation alters the brain’s neural activity, change the dopamine levels, and increases cortical thickness. One of the prominent poker players who practice meditation includes Daniel Negreanu.
Dan shared in his blog at FullContactPoker how he recovers from a bad beat through meditation. “People often ask me how to deal with a bad beat, and my answer to that is to take three to five really deep breaths. That in itself is a form of mediation that can help centre you and relieve the body of anxiety. As you meditate more often, this practice can help you deal with these situations more easily,” Dan wrote.
He mentioned that engaging in meditation has helped him become calmer when he is bluffing or when he encounters extremely stressful situations. He added, “There is no wrong way to do meditation, thoughts will come and go, the mind is designed to have thoughts. Over time, the thoughts don't go away, but you become better at simply noticing them and separating yourself from your minds thoughts.” Dan advocates meditation that he has been doing a course on the topic at ChoiceCenter. Dan was actually inspired by another WTP winner, Andrew Lichtenberger, who changed his diet and started practicing meditation and yoga.
Poker players can benefit from meditation because it is good for both the mind and the body. They spend over ten hours sitting down and this can cause health problems if a player’s body and mind are not at its optimal state.
Thailand poker players are lucky to be living in a country that offers them several temples and retreat centres where they can master the art of meditation.