Noel felt a little anxious about it at first but he took a deep breath and noticed that actually he was OK. The trade that he was executing had taken a turn as the price action was creeping toward his stop. He had placed a limit order on the 5 minute chart of the NQ after noticing a drop-base-drop on the 240 minute chart into an untested Demand Zone where he had drawn the level and had placed his stop 2 points below the distal line of the Demand Zone. He felt confident that the trade would play out since his odds enhancers were lining up to about an 8; but the price action seemed to be a little uncooperative. That’s when the anxiety began to increase; but that deep breath reminded him to maintain perspective which quieted his mind and calmed his system. However, it wasn’t always like this as he remembered how reckless he’d been in the past. Before, while dealing with this type of situation his heartbeat would thump like a disco drum, his hands would shake uncontrollably and his emotions would set off like a four alarm fire. Now, after he had incorporated meditation into his daily routine over the past year he did not react by becoming fragmented, frustrated and frazzled. He had developed a capacity for emotional strength and endurance in the trade.
Bringing your “A” game to your trading platform and ensuring that you are in the Now of the trade is crucial to getting the results that you want. You’ve got to be able to focus with intention and attention to decrease the pain associated with being out of control. There is great value in being aligned, centered and grounded in order to optimize all of your system’s resources toward seeing reality for what it is, being on the right side of the order flow, and following the price action’s lead. Among the many ways that help you with alignment, centeredness and being grounded, few are as powerful as meditation. Noel discovered for himself what research had established over the years, that meditation is a powerful tool for establishing physiological, mental, emotional and behavioral benefits. For instance, with consistency meditation has been shown to sharpen attention, lower heart rate, lower stress levels, ease anxiety, increase patience, induce calm, and reduce susceptibility to fear and greed to name a few.
Meditation has been used all across the planet throughout history in one form or another with differing configurations; however there is a common theme of calming, centering, aligning and grounding the mind/body. Meditation is a journey with no destination, a journey that enters into the depths of heart and soul to open the self to a deeper conversation with the higher centers of being.
One of the major aims of meditation is to support the mind/body’s ability to be fully present which means the system is living and vibrating in this moment, without internal or external distractions. Being fully present also means that focus is on the task at hand while remaining on purpose, and on target. So often while trading you are thinking about what happened in the last trade, or what is coming up in the next few moments. In other words, you’re everywhere but where you should be, focused on what is taking place right now – the “what-matters-most” of the trade. Distractions can come in the form of negative emotions like fear, greed, and anxiety, all of which can distort perception and make illusions seem real. Consistent meditation hones an appreciation for just “being,” without timetables, goals, effort or hubris. Trying harder yields diminishing returns while surrender and letting go are prescriptions for success; that is, resonating with your highest and best self while remaining mindful.
Mindful meditation is a simple and highly effective approach to establishing a meditative process. Sit down in a chair, or on a pillow, or on the floor and get comfortable while keeping your back straight. If you sit in a chair, put your feet flat on the floor. Now, take your attention and focus it on an external or internal point such as an imaginary candlelight or picturing your navel. The point is not to try to concentrate energy—that would be an act of doing—but to focus the attention and let the mind be free of thinking. Allow the thoughts to come and go with an intention of un-attachment to any thought. The breath is especially helpful by inhaling through the nose and slowly exhaling through the nose in a natural cadence with the lips pursed as if blowing out a candle. The breath is very important, as it is a cleansing action and oxygenates the blood stream while helping to dilate blood vessels and send more oxygen to the brain, which has a calming effect on the entire body.
It is important to be attuned to the process not as “trying” but “being” in order to allow the mind/body to resonate with stillness and quiet. Here is an interesting point, for every hour of meditation, the body gets the equivalent of 4 hours of rest, (now don’t take that as a reason to be a night owl). As you breathe deeply and evenly to the cadence of the count, let go of any thought, care or issue and, when it returns, acknowledge it and allow it to be there without judgment. This may be difficult at first, but just keep the intention strong and, with time, you will be able to sit in quiet stillness with only the sound of your breathing as your thoughts come and go. Eventually your ability to just “be” will become stronger and you may find you are held captive less and less by unruly thoughts.
Practice meditation at the same time everyday to help instill the routine and habit, especially when beginning. It’s a perfect way to start your day before you do anything else. It can rejuvenate, align, invigorate and charge your system, infusing you with a sharpened sense of attention to what matters. It’s also a wonderful way to end the day to wind down, de-stress, realign, shed tension, calm the system, and generally defuse any negative energy. A meditation break at lunch is an excellent tool to maintain balance and focus for the day to weed out distractions and remain on purpose and on task. As you can see, any time might be the best time for you – you choose. Additionally, you may want to develop a two-a-day practice, once in the morning and once in the evening, as a powerful way to instill and maintain a sense of calm intention throughout the day and night.
There is no set time interval to meditate but, generally speaking, 20 to 30 minutes is what many use. For beginners, I usually suggest that they start with 5 minutes and ease their way into longer time frames until they are able to remain still and focused for 20 to 45 minutes. A small and non-intrusive timer might be used in the beginning to support your practice.
Your trading deserves the best you can give while activating and accessing all of your internal and external resources. Diligent and consistent meditation will help you to reduce distorted judgment and distracted thinking by building patience and a level of detachment. This and other powerful tools are what we teach in “Mastering the Mental Game.” You’ve got to have mental and emotional tools in your tool belt, otherwise it’s like driving without a steering wheel; you will lose your way and crash and burn without them. Put the steering into your trading. Ask your Online Trading Academy representative for more information; and get my book, “From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.”