I’m sure that most of you have at least a cursory understanding of mindfulness meditation if not an actual practice in the ancient art. That’s because mindfulness meditation is enjoying, along with other forms of meditation, somewhat of a resurgence. Many scholars, academics, trainers, teachers and traders just like you swear by mindfulness as one of the most powerful and dramatic exercises that one can practice.
Mindful meditation is associated with the ability to overcome difficulties associated with maintaining focus and as well increasing cognitive processing, pattern recognition and a list of other skillsets that are made better by giving the brain the down-time it needs to recalibrate, reset and reboot. So, mindfulness could be a supercharged way to prepare for your trading. Unfortunately, there are many of you who would like to begin a mindfulness meditation practice but despite the plethora of places to get instruction you still feel in the dark. This article is poised to provide some support mechanisms to get you started in grooming your mind to be as powerful as is possible.
Let’s begin with a brief discussion of why mindfulness meditation is such a good deal and afterwards we will explore a simple, easy and surefire way to support your practice and begin to enjoy the thought clarity and brain coherence that is possible with mindfulness.
What is Mindful Meditation?
Mindfulness Meditation is the process of being still and focusing your mind on the waves of your breath while simply aiming to become aware of what you are experiencing without attachment. Meditation can assist in developing the capacity for brain integration and differentiation.
What is Brain Integration?
Brain integration is the tendency for the brain to coordinate the different parts so that it becomes better able to communicate information across the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes. These are the four main parts of the brain. The sub-cortical parts of the brain include the hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, pituitary and pineal glands which are heavily involved in emotions in what is termed the limbic system. Another brain area that bears mentioning is the hindbrain – located at the base and just above the spinal cord. After just a few seconds of stillness and focus, your brain will begin to integrate all the major areas of the brain mentioned above.
It’s like going to hear a symphony. If you arrive early you will hear a wall of noise as all of the musicians are warming up. However, when the conductor comes to the podium and taps her baton all becomes quiet. She then raises her arms and beautiful music fills the concert hall. This harmony, where just a moment ago there was cacophony, is what brain integration is like. When you power-down, your brain has the opportunity to begin the process of integration; it becomes stronger, more focused and much more able to resist distraction and distortion from outside influences.
What is Differentiation?
Differentiation is the process of repairing and strengthening each of the various parts of the brain, allowing them to be more able to respond to demands from the system. Differentiation is analogous to having a team of competitors getting ready for the season. Before each competitor begins the teamwork exercises and practice, they must ensure that they are personally ready by working on an individual plan of strength and endurance building without which they will be hard-pressed to contribute extensively to the team. So, through wide-ranging hard work they will become an asset to the team. Integration is made more efficacious as all the parts grow stronger and more differentiated.
Ways to Develop the Skill of Mindfulness Meditation
Now, that brings me to the technology that is literally at your fingertips to begin and remain committed to a mindfulness meditation practice, smartphone apps. There are likely hundreds of apps available to help support your quest for mindfulness both on Androids and IOS or iPhone devices. These apps are designed to stimulate, gather information from your brain and provide the feedback and therefore the training that will put you on the fast-track of honing attention, focus, pattern recognition and decision making which are among some of the most valuable and crucial internal resources that we can develop. Some examples are, Calm, Headspace, and Let’s Meditate which can be found in the Play Store for Android and I would assume on your iPhone as well. There are probably scores of others and most are free.
The other high-tech option that is powerful for developing mindfulness and is just what a tired and undisciplined brain ordered is BWE or brain wave entertainment. Essentially BWE is what happens when you listen to sounds that are binaural in nature. Binaural beats have 2 signals or frequencies sent to either ear (say a 110Hz in the left and a 10Hz in the right), the 2 frequencies are brought together so-to-speak and a 3rd frequency is created. This 3rd frequency is a harmonic of the 2 binaural beats, in this instance it would be an alpha wave that the brain would entrain to, meaning that it will start to resonate and duplicate the binaural frequency…hence brain wave entertainment. Now, as you meditate, sitting with your back straight while focusing on the waves of your breath and quieting your brain, the frequencies cause the brain to not only calm down but, over time, also begin to integrate and differentiate.
Meditation is one of the strongest practices that you can engage in, along with physical exercise, yoga, rest and a diet high in organic veggies, fiber, lean grass-fed meats and drinking plenty of water. With consistent use of the phone apps and while also using the brain wave entertainment, you will begin to set up the conditions in your brain to maximize clarity, coherency, transparency, mental strength and precision, to name a few.
There is a myriad of additional high-tech opportunities that you can use to support your ability to plan your trade, trade your plan, follow all of your rules and keep all of your commitments. In the coming months we will share more of these tools and techniques with you. In the meantime, check out the Mastering the Mental Game online and on-location courses. Ask your Online Trading Academy representative for more information. Also, get my book, From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.