So many charts…so little time. Trading can get hectic, learning to trade mindfully can help.
If you want to improve your trading performance, it's essential to examine all elements of your game.
Here are 5 commonly overlooked areas where you can increase your awareness and profits.
1. Double-Check Your Mental State Before Opening Your Charts
It can be easy to jump into the charts without considering your mindset.
After all, you've tested your strategies and executed thousands of trades before.
Why should this time be any different?
The reality is that your mindset can vary dramatically from session to session.
So before you even open your charting platform, take a minute to check in with how you're feeling…
- Did you just have an argument with someone?
- Or did you spend the day relaxing on the beach and you're ready to rock!
Just the awareness of your mental state can be enough to help you calm down and get into the right mindset for trading.
If you're the type of person who would like a quantitative measurement, I've found that the Inner Balance app/device from HeartMath is the easiest ways to measure if you're in the zone or not.
This device and mobile app measures your level of coherence. The higher your coherence, the more focused you are.
Of course, you can move in and out of coherence at any time. But the more you practice, the better you will get at it.
The goal is to stay in a coherent state throughout the entire time you're trading.
Here's an example of an excellent coherence session that I had before opening my charts…
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This is a great tool to help you trade mindfully. I highly recommend it.
2. Review Your Feelings Shortly After Entering a Trade
If you open a trade and don't look at it until it hits the profit target or stop loss, then you could be missing out on a valuable piece of information.
That piece of information is your intuition.
Some traders have good intuition, others not so good. So figure out what works best for you.
Record your thoughts in your trading journal a few minutes after entering it. Do you feel as confident about it as when you took the trade?
Don't act on this information in the beginning.
But over time, you might start to see some patterns emerging.
Maybe your intuition about a trade turns out to be pretty good. If so, then you know that you should usually trust your intuition.
If your intuition tends to be wrong most of the time, then you should probably follow your trading plan exactly.
This is a subtle element of trading mindfully, but it can help a lot.
3. Be Aware of Your Attitude Towards Money
A sneaky roadblock that a lot of people run into is their subconscious aversion to money.
On the outside, they say that they want to fly first class and own an expensive luxury car.
But deep down…society, their parents and their peers have drilled into them that money is bad.
- Movies usually portray rich people as greedy.
- Some spiritual leaders tell their followers that money is: “the root of all evil.”
- Parents tell their kids: “money doesn't grow on trees.”
- Co-workers hate the boss who tells them what to do and lives in a beautiful house
…and so on.
Of course, this is nonsense.
Money is neither good or bad.
It only magnifies who you really are.
You can use your money to build schools in developing countries. You can use your money to fund inventions that will change the world.
So be more mindful of your attitudes towards money. Keep a journal with you and write down your thoughts about money throughout the day.
You might be surprised at what you discover.
4. Be Mindful of Reoccurring Themes
Are there certain themes that keep popping up in your life?
For example, do you tend to get into a lot of arguments?
Well, that could explain why you have so many losing trades. You may be placing more importance on being right, then being profitable.
In effect, you're arguing with the markets.
This is a sign that you should probably listen more in life…and in trading.
Another area that you can find common theme is in your dreams.
Not everyone remembers their dreams.
If you think that you don't dream, you simply aren't making a conscious effort to remember your dreams. Give it an honest try for a couple of weeks and you'll get the hang of it.
You probably won't remember your dreams every night.
But you will remember them a lot more often.
Keep a journal by your bed and be ready to record your dreams as soon as you awake.
When I made a serious effort to remember my dreams, I discovered my primary mental roadblock was I believed that most things in my life would not work out.
Wow, imagine how limiting that belief can be!
It was amazing how often that theme came up.
Once I knew that, I was able to explore ways to fix it. But if I never had that realization, I might still be stuck in a cycle of self sabotage.
After you master dream recall, you can start to dive into lucid dreaming.
That's when the fun really starts 🙂
5. Maintain an Objective Mindset While Reviewing Trades
It can be easy to get down on yourself when you're on a losing streak. That's especially true when it comes time to review your trading journal.
Now I'm not saying that it's easy to keep an objective mindset when you are losing.
It can be very challenging.
But like with anything else, practice builds the skill.
Start from where you are, do your best…and go from there.
When you're on a losing streak, just opening your trading journal can be painful. The first step to facing your trading losses is to consider the following…
- Even if it was a poor trade, you can learn something from it. What's done is done. Find a way to prevent it next time and move on.
- Upon closer review, you may find that you're actually trading quite well, but you simply hit a normal drawdown.
Also ask yourself if you're doing these two things…
- Are you attaching too much of your personal identity to your trading results? If so, you're trading from an ego-centered mindset. Your ego wants to be right. Your ego wants to be the big-swinging-dick trader. This never ends well. Quiet your mind and learn to detach yourself from your trading results.
- Are you trading with too much risk? If you're losing an uncomfortable amount of money, it's time to scale back or even downshift to a demo account until you can get your performance figured out.
Reviewing your trades is a perfect time to reflect on how you can take your performance to the next level.
Set a time in your calendar to do it regularly.
Final Thoughts on Ways to Trade Mindfully
So those are 5 ways to upgrade your psychology and trade mindfully.
Learning trading strategies is easy.
Mastering them is the hard part.
But if you're conscious of every element of your trading process and work to make small improvements every day, those improvements can compound.
…and you know what they say about compounding.
What are some ways that you've upgraded your trading mindset. Share your experience in the comments below…