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Mind over matter: Especially important under lockdown conditions

Anyone involved in the trading community will know of the plethora of classes, coaches, gurus and what not out there willing to turn you into an overnight success. Each has their special angle, be it motivation, risk control, discipline and Zen Buddhism. There are also excellent text books, one of the oldest of its kind is Dale Carnegie’s 1936 ‘How to win Friends and Influence People’. Now available as an audiobook which I think is currently free on Alexa hardware.

The world of sport has embraced coaches who include psychology and team spirit into their training programmes. Jurgen Klopp’s success this year in building Liverpool FC into a seriously cohesive team – while adding to his obvious charisma – is the latest in a long line. Cricket too has started to focus on the team as a whole and the camaraderie between players, as well as bowling versus batting skills. Cycling Team GB were well ahead in the analysis and data collection of the whole Olympic team’s performance.

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown conditions imposed have seen the spotlight turn on inequality, precarious income, and living spaces. Here I’m thinking more specifically about outdoor space, be it a balcony, garden, access to the countryside or the shoreline. More importantly, it’s green spaces that really matter. The medicinal use of plants has been going for millennia, and last century the restorative powers of being outdoors in pleasant surroundings was acknowledged by hospitals.

With working from home, permanently or part-time, now an increasing reality, anecdotal evidence suggests many are contemplating moving away from hipster mega-city locations to something more rural. First-time allotment holders are on the rise, though making it pay can take a lot of long learning. With perseverance the average sized plot of 10 rods/perches/poles (an Anglo-Saxon measurement of about 250 square metres) can keep a family of 4-6 in fruit and veg all year; an uncle of mine did.

The Financial Times has suggested some books to read on the subject. These are NOT ‘how to’ garden books or plant lists; they focus on the link between plants and wellbeing.

‘Scent Magic: Notes from a Gardener’ by Isabel Bannerman.

‘Your Wellbeing Garden: How to Make your Garden Good for You’ by Matt Keightley and Professor Alistair Griffiths.

‘The Well Gardened Mind’ by Sue Stuart-Smith.

‘The Nature Fix’ by Florence Williams.

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