Mindfulness and Trading Results
We need all the help we can get with ensuring that emotions do not damage our performance. Identifying the source of negative emotions and removing that from our minds can be a big help.
This is important when trading because losing trades can prey on your mind through your emotions. There is no point in saying you will keep your emotions under control if you can’t forget about the source of some of the more damaging negative emotions.
Mindfulness really comes into its own here with its fundamental principle that we live life in the present. The past is just that and what happened in the past must be left there. We must not bring it with us.
Yesterday’s exercise required us to leave aside negative feelings we might have towards some person and wish them well. In doing so we are accepting them for what they are, knowing that they have a life but, just like us, they get it wrong sometimes.
In trading we get it wrong sometimes also. If you can accept that others can get it wrong and allow them this, then accept that you too get it wrong sometimes and allow yourself this.
We do not just ignore these times of course. Instead if a trade loses, or if it wins, analyse it to see if there is a lesson. But that must be the end of it.
Instead, what happens very often is that the losing trades generate emotions that stay with us.
Task for Today
Make sure you have done as many routine tasks as you can in a mindful way. Read back over yesterday’s exercise and go though it again if you have a few minutes.
Now think back on a trade or series of trades that caused you pain. Re-imagine that pain. Can you feel it? What does that feel like? Can you name the emotions that come with those memories?
Is regret one of them? If it is then this is a positive because it means that you are taking responsibility for your trading. You are recognizing that something you did or failed to do caused the pain. Capture that in a sentence in your head.
Recognize that what you are thinking has no reality. It is no more than a memory. The sentence you have composed is the lesson and that is all you want to take from that memory.
Bring your mind back to the present to what is before you as you prepare for your trading day or physically before you if you are already at your trading desk. That is the only reality.
Write the sentence into your journal.
Repeat this exercise again and every day for the next week calling to mind things to do with trading that have caused you pain or anxiety.
Your pain may not be a result of a bad experience from the past but may be a longing for success. Each time recognize that what you are thinking is just a construct of your own mind. It has no reality.
Recognize the emotions that are aroused. Recognize them as thoughts. Then put them aside.
When you have gone through this, do the Body Scan meditation from Day 10.
It is possible that you may find this exercise to be rather stressful. Don’t start trading if you do find it difficult. If you do it successfully this should pass quickly.
But you may find the thoughts and feelings this arouses do not leave your mind quickly. In this case, you may find the Walking Mediation from Day 11 can help.
This is a difficult exercise and about as far as an introductory course can hope to go. You might benefit from going back over the course again and see if you feel any different about the outcome of this final exercise.