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Stress and horse racing gambling

Stress reduces our ability to process information. Now as your effectiveness as a punter solely relies on your ability to process information, don't you think this may be significant?

A recent study in the USA found that people who were given too much information in making stock market buying and selling decisions did not perform as well as people who received less information. In other words, given too many options, our brains become overloaded and we feel forced to choose an option which might not be the best decision for the situation.

Without going in to all sorts of psychological hyperbole, the part of the brain we need to make logical decisions gets over-ridden in times of stress by the middle or lower part of the brain that is more attuned to "fight or flee" survival decisions.

When we are stressed it is common to have several reactions that reduce effective decision making including:

1. Pre-occupation with an idea, even if it is old or ineffective. We do this because we fear new ideas or activities as a response to being overwhelmed and stressed. We tend to do things the way we always have done, rather than using new ways or new technologies. (Sound familiar?)

2. Our concentration is impaired. Too much internal "noise" and distraction from our fear/stress.

3. There is a deterioration in judgment and logical thinking. The neo-cortex shuts down and we become more reactive.

4. We can fall more easily into negative self-evaluations as stress affects our self-esteem and self-confidence.

5. We have less objectivity for a reality-check that can show the overall position in the "bigger" picture.

6. Creativity is reduced and we see fewer alternatives.

7. Our search for input of useful information is impaired.

8. We fail to see and understand the long-term consequences of decisions. This can lead to serious mistakes.

Stress affects a gambler's profit and loss in a number of different ways, and the exact manifestation will be different for each punter.

For some punters, stress might cause them to have more bets than usual (perhaps in a desperate attempt to make more money), while for others, stress might cause them to punt less than usual, perhaps because they are unable to make any decisions.

So if you suddenly find yourself punting badly, consider your emotional state and whether that might be the cause, before you decide to make any adjustments to your punting methodologies.

If you find yourself "stressed out", the best decision is always going to be to stop punting
, shut down for the day and come back fresh tomorrow. A quiet walk along the beach or river front always beats doubling up in the Stress Stakes!

Walking increases the blood flow to the brain. A 1999 study found that people walking 45 minutes a day at 10 minute per kilometre pace increased their thinking skills. The participants started at 15 minutes of walking and built up their time and speed. The result was that the same people were mentally sharper after taking up this walking program.

What I can GUARANTEE is that you will feel less stress during the afternoon's "pursuit of a winner" if all your selections for the afternoon and your punting strategy has been worked out well in advance during the morning of the day's activities. Nothing increases punting stress more than trying to make decisions on the run during the 'heat of battle" and is the sure way to find yourself knocking on the poor house door.

Business efficiency gurus have for YEARS and YEARS been flogging the 5P analogy - Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

Perhaps we should make that the 6P approach - Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Punting Performance?