Mindfulness and Trading
Mindfulness and trading: Most traders I talk with are interested in mindfulness as a way to improve trading. Once in a while, though, someone will have an unfounded objection to mindfulness. For example, Ricky, a currency trader, said, “Isn’t that going to make me passive and not want to take money out of the markets?” Nothing could be further from the truth. Mindfulness and trading go together nicely.
Mindfulness, Marines, Athletes & Corporations
Today, mindfulness is even used by the US Military. A marine unit scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan conducted its training with mindfulness. Some in the unit were taught meditation and mindfulness techniques. Their initial reaction to sitting quietly in meditation was, “This is ridiculous!” But in the days leading up to deployment, the unit went through one last training event: an intensive, highly stressful war-game exercise designed to imitate what they would soon be facing. Those who learned mindfulness had significantly better response to the stresses of that training. They felt more relaxed, had a better physical reaction to the high stress, and recovered more quickly. Seeing these results in their comrades, those marines who initially shunned the mindfulness training now wanted to learn it. The study was recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Many now practice mindfulness on a routine basis. Executives and employees at Apple, McKinsey, Target and Google represent a few of the corporations that encourage the practice of mindfulness. Members of the Seattle Sea Hawks practice mindfulness as a part of their preparation for competitive games. Even traders at Goldman Sachs come for company sponsored mindfulness training “in droves.” Goldman’s classes, according to this article, “… have waiting lists several hundred long.”
Mindfulness for Traders
Mindfulness has numerous benefits for traders, too. Brain scans show growth in the area associated with decision-making and shrink those areas associated with loss aversion and the stress response. One of the most valuable of all the numerous benefits has to do with what we tell ourselves. Through mindfulness, we can learn that all those unhelpful and critical voices in your head are really just lies. The voice that that tells you to “get out” of a winning trade and then chastises you for cutting that trade when it continues in your direction will be seen for what it is when mindful–just thoughts. And those highly toxic, self-critical voices saying you’re “not good enough” will be seen for exactly what they are–lies.