You know that feeling like you climbed out of the wrong side of the bed, and how it can seem to follow you throughout the day?
Sometimes it can be a major problem if you are a full-time sports bettor. You grumble as you get out of bed in the morning, stumble exhaustedly into your home office, and sit down to bet thinking, “I’ll wake up eventually.”
But instead of feeling better, you just feel worse as stressors start piling up. Eventually you place a bad bet and get even more frustrated when it goes wrong. Before you know it, you are placing a whole string of bad bets.
At some point in the middle of the day, you may find yourself wondering, “How did this happen?” You stare at your declining account balance in horror, then make even more bad bets in a blind panic as you try to “win it all back.”
Needless to say, that is a day which is not going to end well.
What is the best way to avoid bad days like these? To cut them off at the pass before they even begin.
It is easy to underestimate the importance of our morning routines, but they can have a profound effect on how the rest of our day unfolds.
If you had just taken a few minutes at the beginning of the day to try and get your body and mind centered, you might have been able to improve your focus and your mood, which could have helped you make smarter betting decisions.
Following are 10 tips to help you get your day started right as a sports bettor.
1. Open the windows to let in the sun.
If you are feeling groggy, the first thing you should do in the morning is get up and open your windows to let in some sunlight, and maybe a bit of fresh air as well.
The reason this is important has to do with our body’s circadian rhythm. This is an internal clock which essentially tells your body when it is supposed to be asleep or awake.
Our circadian rhythms are naturally attuned to sunlight. Most of us feel more alert and awake during the daytime and sleepier at night.
That is because when it is dark, our bodies detect that and manufacture more melatonin, resulting in us feeling sleepy.
When it is bright out, we produce less melatonin, and feel more alert.
So opening your windows to bring in more sunlight signals your body that it is time to wake up now. If you wake up at the same time each day and immediately start exposing yourself to sunlight, that should have a beneficial effect.
2. Drink a glass of water.
Still not feeling awake? Your next step is to drink a full glass of water. It can be cold or lukewarm. I notice that cold water seems to induce more of a “state change” than room temperature water. So if I am feeling lethargic, I usually go for cold.
Drinking water has other benefits as well. It flushes out toxins and gives your metabolism a boost. Both of these also can help your body start functioning at its best from the start of the day.
3. Eat a nutritious breakfast.
If you practice intermittent fasting and prefer to skip breakfast, do so—that works well for a lot of people. But if you do eat breakfast, make sure that it is a healthy one which is rich in nutritional content.
In other words, skip the sugary, starchy breakfast cereal. If you do eat breakfast cereal, make sure it is healthy whole grain cereal without sugars or additives. Oats make a great alternative. Fresh fruit is a great option as well. Nuts make for a good source of morning protein, so think about eating some walnuts or almonds as well. Eggs are fantastic too.
Try and get a feel for the optimum amount of food which suits you in the morning. Eat too little and you may feel tired and unfocused. But eat too much and you may feel slow and listless. Once you figure out the best portion size, that will go a long way toward helping you feel focused and alert for the day ahead.
4. Enjoy a cup of coffee if it helps you feel more awake.
Coffee, like food, is best enjoyed in moderation in the morning. If coffee helps you feel energized and focused, it can be a helpful part of your morning routine.
But if you overdo it, you can wind up with the jitters. At that point, you may actually have a harder time focusing on your work than you did before.
Worse, you can find yourself feeling anxious. That is not the way you want to feel when you are placing bets. So enjoy your coffee, but be sure you do not go overboard.
5. Meditate or exercise.
So far everything I have talked about concerns your body, and how you can take steps to feel more awake in the morning and ready to take on the day.
But that is just one side of the equation. You also need to make sure that you are in the right frame of mind to make wise betting decisions.
Feeling awake and alert is part of that—nobody enjoys feeling groggy. But the state of your body is not the only thing which influences your mood.
Maybe you had nightmares last night, or perhaps this morning you had an argument with your spouse. If you have a day job, there could be some issue at work you are dreading. Or maybe you are just stressed out about all the work you have to do with your betting today. Or you could have broader life problems you are concerned about.
Regardless, you need to do something to center your mind and remove your attention from these issues.
You probably will not be able to stop thinking about them entirely, but you do not want to be fixated on them when you are supposed to be thinking about betting.
So you should have some part of your morning routine which helps to clear your mind and balance your emotions.
For some people, just enjoying a nutritious breakfast and a glass of water is actually enough to do this. But others may need to take 5-10 minutes (or more) to do something calming.
6. Take a moment to remind yourself of what you love about your job.
After you have finished with your exercise or meditation, I recommend one more step to get your mind in order. This step is extra helpful if you are easily stressed out by the demands of your work.
Sit down with an open document or a piece of paper, and write down a short list of things you are grateful for today. Just make it 3-5 items.
What is the point of doing this? It is to help you reframe your thoughts in a positive way.
For example, sometimes I wake up and all I can think about is how irritated I am at everything that needs to be one that day. I am tired and stressed, and just want to get to the evening.
I think, “I have to troubleshoot that issue with my betting strategy today, and then I have all that research to catch up on. And I have to do my accounting today, which tacks on another two hours of work. And I am scared of losing more bets today since this week hasn’t gone that well. This is exhausting.”
I am sure you have also had mornings like that. That attitude is not exactly conducive to success. All it does is emphasize your stress and cloud your objectivity.
Here is the “gratitude list” I wrote this morning:
- I am grateful that I have found a betting strategy which works pretty well, even if it needs some refinement. A lot of punters are struggling to find a method that works at all.
- I am grateful to be making good money on sports betting, even if lately I have been losing more bets than I would like. Dealing with uncertainty is scary sometimes, but I am fortunate to be able to do this professionally.
- Even though accounting is a lot of work, it means I have a viable business which requires that I keep up with those duties. So I am grateful for the two hours of extra accounting work I have to do today.
You see how this puts a more positive and realistic spin on things? Throughout the day, if you get stressed, you can refer back to the list of things you are grateful for, and feel encouraged.
7. When you sit down to bet, make sure your environment is optimized.
Next, before you actually start your betting activities, you should take a look around. Is your betting setup optimized with your devices? Did you close the door so that no one will interrupt you? Is it quiet in your home office, or do you have music or white noise on which will help you concentrate? Is the lighting conducive to your work?
If your environment is noisy or distracting, that can really hamper productivity. It may even cause you to make costly mistakes. It can ramp up your stress levels as well, and make it even harder to get balanced and centered if something stirs up your emotions (like an unexpected loss).
Do not neglect your virtual environment either. Distractions on your desktop like notifications, chat apps and so on can pull your attention away from your work as well.
8. Check your breathing and posture.
The next thing I recommend like to do when I am preparing to start my day with sports betting is to check that I am sitting in a comfortable, upright posture, and that I am breathing correctly.
That might sound almost absurdly basic, but the small things like this can have a surprisingly big impact on your day.
For my part, I am prone to tension headaches. So if I let myself slouch throughout the day, I make it more likely I will experience muscle strain and head pain.
Thinking clearly through pain and stress is very difficult, so it is more likely I will make a losing wager if my posture suffers.
Researchers have also found that our postures have an impact on how we perceive ourselves and our thoughts.
If you slouch, you tend to feel less confident. If you sit up straight, you are more likely to feel secure in yourself and your decisions.
So in terms of managing performance anxiety or self-doubts while you are wagering (and that is something pretty much any bettor has to deal with on a regular basis), correct posture can give you a boost throughout the day.
Now let’s talk about breathing.
When we are anxious, many of us have a tendency to breathe improperly. Our breaths become shallow and quick, and we may even hyperventilate without realizing it. This leads to a lightheaded feeling which feeds further into the anxiety.
If you open your sports betting platform and you are nervous, you may already be breathing like this. If you are, it is only going to make you feel more agitated.
So check your breathing, and make sure that you are taking deep, slow, steady breaths. They should be from your diaphragm, not from high in your chest. You should spend less time breathing in than you do breathing out.
While you should check your breathing and posture at the start of the day, you also should try to periodically check them through the duration of your workday.
It is all too easy to start breathing rapidly or slouching without even noticing with your conscious mind. Your unconscious mind however will notice—and will react through a change in mood.
So breathe properly, sit up straight, and wager with confidence.
9. Get out your sports betting checklist and review it.
The last thing I do before I start in on my day’s betting activities is pull out my checklist and read it from top to bottom.
You can view an example of a sports betting checklist in this article. Scroll down to the “cheat sheet.”
I do have my checklist memorized, but I still choose to look at it. Why? Because I have difficulties with tasks which involve executive function, and sports betting involves a lot of it.
It just does not make sense to give yourself more room for error when you can avoid mistakes by reading the list. I keep mine physically taped to the wall. I glance back at it as I work my way down the list to make sure I won’t skip a vital step.
10. Take breaks if you need to.
Now you are ready to bet! Since you have gotten off to the right start with your day, you should be positioned for the best chances of success. Your environment is optimized to support your betting activities, your mind is centered and focused, and your body has the fuel it needs.
One last tip I will give you is to take breaks as often as you need them. I usually like to get as much work done in the morning as I can, since I have a burst of productivity after I wake up. But your productivity windows may be during different times of the day.
In any case, if you are feeling tense, stressed, or anxious, it is always okay to get up from your desk, stretch, and walk around. Do something to relax (exercising and meditating are good options for this as well), and come back to your betting when you feel calm and refreshed once again.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget a Good Night’s Sleep
The focus of this post has been on starting out your morning right, but let’s not forget that it is hard to do that on only a few hours of sleep.
Try to get around 6-9 hours of quality sleep every night. Resist the urge to stay up until 2 in the morning working on your betting. If you are a driven worker, it can be hard to let go, but you will not travel the road to riches any faster by depriving yourself of much-needed rest.
I hope these lifestyle tips help you to become a more profitable sports bettor. When we spend all our time focused on our systems and strategies, it can be easy to forget that it is sometimes the simplest things that make all the difference.
Something as basic as a hearty breakfast, five minutes to meditate, and letting the sunlight in each morning can have a real impact on your bottom line!
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