Bringing Mindfulness To Trading

Before I get to the good stuff, I’d like to start this off by saying that this was one of the best decisions i’ve ever made for my trading career.

I became inspired to take a meditation course focused around trading after a friend of mine mentioned it to me and shared some of the value he had gotten from it.

One of the prerequisites of taking the course was to commit to no trading or trading activities for at least two weeks. This one took some deep consideration being that I run a trading website and group full-time but i’m glad I did it.

The first day was an eye-opening one to say the least. Our lesson focused on understanding how our brains function, process, and how this relates to our trading.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” but it actually couldn’t be farther from the truth. Our brains are always developing new connections and disposing of old ones that are no longer needed through something called Neuroplasticity .

In short, Neuroplasticity allows the brain to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections based off experiences throughout life. What does this have to do with us as traders you ask?

Everything.

Every decision you make in your trading career is based off of a previous experience.

Whether good or bad, this means that if we aren’t happy with the results we’re getting from our trading then we have the power to change it!

How? Through Meditation and Mindfulness.

Meditation is the practice of learning to control your “monkey mind” that can never seem to keep quiet. Now there’s many forms and ways to meditate but specifically for this course, the focus was on a technique called Vipassana.

Vipassana means “to see things as they really are”, which is exactly what we need to do when trading as well as throughout life.

The practice of this technique involved finding a chair or floor cushion on which you could sit comfortably, closing your eyes, relaxing, breathing through your nose, and simply observing your thoughts and becoming aware of the sensations and feelings that arise for 20 minutes twice a day.

Now, this is of course easier said than done..

The majority of us never spend time doing.. Nothing. Even when we say we’re bored out of our minds we’re still distracted by watching TV, texting friends, checking our Facebook and Instagram, playing games on our phones or consoles. Basically anything to keep our minds busy and occupied.

Our society is training us to run through life too consumed with everything happening in the exterior world to ever give a thought to what’s going on in our inner world.

Our brains are a muscle just like any of the others throughout our body. Which means if we exercise and train it, It will become stronger and healthier. That’s where meditation comes in. Specifically, Vipassana.

By introducing meditation into our daily routine we are creating new neural pathways in our brain that promote the growth we need in order to take our trading results to the next level.

Have you ever been in a winning trade but closed to soon or too late? Have you ever moved your stop loss although your trading plan forbids it? Have you ever revenge traded, Over-leveraged, or committed any of the other many trading errors that cause you to lose your hard earned capital?

An even better question, Have you ever made the same error twice? Thrice?

Now although we know the outcome of these risky behaviors, what causes us to make these disastrous decisions over and over again?

It’s simple. Habits.

Just like we can make new neural pathways in our brain to reach a desired result, we can also make or strengthen pathways that are destructive to our success.

Alot of times, By default we are creating destructive pathways because we aren’t even aware of what’s going on up there.

Have you ever started going back the gym for a few days consistently, then all of a sudden because of some excuse you start missing a few sessions and next thing you know it’s been months before you even seen a weight?

This is caused by having developed stronger negative pathways (not wanting to go to the gym) than positive ones (wanting to go to the gym) that support the desired outcome. After will-power and the spontaneous motivation to break a habit leaves, You’re left with the true nature of them.

The same applies to trading. When we make a trading error and tell ourselves we’ll never do it again and expect a huge change to take place we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment.

The emotions, feelings, and beliefs, tied to the experience that is affecting our trading is so deeply routed that it will take continuous and consistent work and observation to get it under control.

By applying the techniques described earlier, We are able to start gaining back control over our thoughts and actions. Meditation has been scientifically proven to increase focus, concentration, clarity, and decrease stress, anxiety, and many other emotions.

By making the decision to incorporate meditation into your daily routine you will start seeing changes in your trading results. The two weeks away from the charts also played a very big role.

By stepping away, It allows you to observe your undesired habits and mistakes objectively. It is important to keep a journal in which to write your thoughts in as well. You’ll start to notice that the answers to all of your problems start and end within.

After completing the two week course, I had my most stress-free, profitable trading week ever. I was able to detach myself from the negative thoughts that usually arise from previous beliefs and trade solely off of what the market showed me.

I went from making several trading errors a day to a whopping two in a whole week. To say this works is an understatement.

I hope this blog post inspired you to give meditation a try. This is such a deep and vast topic that I will continue to build off of this subject in future posts.

Until then,

Happy trading!

Credits: image by jcomp / Freepik

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