Monthly Newsletter – Forex Psychology with Saira Khalid

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How Meditation and Mindfulness Can improve your concentration, focus and hence may also improve the quality of Trade Execution. 

I am thrilled to hear from such a large group of graduates that they’ve been able to enhance their trading results through the market movements in the last couple of months.

The Prop Traders have performed at a high standard delivering results with focus on risk management and careful execution of strategies in the live markets. Congratulations to everyone who was profitable and increased their account level this month.

Last month I happened to be at Vipassana meditation retreat at Blue Mountains for 10 days of silence. I know most people will not be able to imagine me ever silent but somehow I am able to go through these segments and come out stronger on the other side. I highly recommend all the traders to give meditation a fair go and see their focus improve. You may not need to do 10 days straight of the bat but you can start taking some time each day to focus on your inner awareness. Below I have selected some scientific evidence from different studies that are proving the benefits of meditation in improving the brain function and showing positive results in all areas of life. It is quite amazing to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation; we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life.

STUDY: Studies report that over 8 weeks meditating 30 minutes per day the mediator experienced measurable changes in grey-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.  M.R.I brain scans taken before and after the participants meditating regimen found increased grey matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress.

Britta Hölzel, a psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and the study’s lead author, said the participants practiced mindfulness meditation, a form of meditation that was introduced in the United States in the late 1970s. It traces its roots to the same ancient Buddhist techniques that Vipassana teaches. “The main idea is to use different objects to focus one’s attention, and it could be a focus on sensations of breathing, or emotions or thoughts, or observing any type of body sensations,” she said. “But it’s about bringing the mind back to the here and now, as opposed to letting the mind drift.”

Previous studies from Lazar’s group and others found structural differences between the brains of experienced mediation practitioners and individuals with no history of meditation, observing thickening of the cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration. But those investigations could not document that those differences were actually produced by meditation

A growing body of literature has demonstrated that neural systems are modifiable networks and changes in the neural structure can occur in adults as a result of training.

The Main Facets of Mindfulness meditation are:

Observing (attending to or noticing internal and external stimuli, such as sensations, emotions, cognition, sights, sounds, and smells)

Acting with awareness (attending to one’s current actions, as opposed to behaving automatically or absent-mindlessly)

Non-judgment of inner experience (refraining from evaluation of one’s sensations, cognition’s, and emotions)

Non-re-activity to inner experience (allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go, without attention getting caught up in them)

I will be bringing up some aspects of this technique and usability in my Trading Mindset Days in the New Year. Now I am about to commence working with a few people to see the direct effect on Trading Results.

I believe that the direct effect of mindfulness may be the following

  • Erratic selection criteria should settle down into a methodical approach
  • Overall market awareness will increase
  • Overall self-confidence will increase
  • Focus will shift from outside events to inner events to produce outer results.
  • Stress associated with losing trades will disappear
  • A sense of timing will improve (this will be the direct result of operating from just the present moment).
  • Focus will remain on proper trade execution rules and risk management instead of making quick cash
  • The ultimate result of higher profitability will follow every week.

I highly encourage you to explore ‘mindfulness’ meditation to help you improve all areas of your life, general well-being and create a profitable trading environment inside of yourself. I look forward to see you on the Trading Floor regularly in the New Year.  I wish you and your family a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

By Saira Khalid

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