Relaxation….The Key to Trading Success

Over the years I have read about relaxation, guided meditation, getting the ZONE, etc. But how does that really affect your trading? How can you be relaxed and trade? Aren’t successful people uptight “Type A” personalities?

That’s what I used to think. Over time, by reading, learning breathing exercises via martial arts and yoga, practicing mindfulness or awareness while in a relaxed state I realized that I was able to see more. See more clearly. See more of what was going on with my mind in a quiet yet alert state. This is what being in the zone is all about. A quiet, focused attention on the task at hand.

All professional athletes possess this skill. They have an uncanny abiltiy to shut out the crowd, the score, the last missed, shot or goal. They stay in the moment and only focus on the NOW. There is no past, there is no future, this is only this moment in time. They are moving, but they are relaxed. They are alert, but they are relaxed. They are poised to explode, but they are relaxed.

They are masters at controlling their physiology or “STATE” to put it in NLP terms. The best athletes know that they can control their state, their mental household by controlling their physiology, their body.  Tony Robbins said the difference between confident and fearful is one half inch.

Stand up. Close your eyes and shake your body a bit. Shake out your hands. Rock back and forth. Now open your eyes and just note how you are standing. Now, from this stance simply raise your chest up one half inch. You don’t have to pull your shoulders back. This will happen naturally. You don’t have to put your head back, this too will happen naturally. The mere act of lifting your chest up one half inch totally changes your posture, your physiology and thereby your MENTAL STATE. That ½ inch gives you a totally different feel for your surroundings. That small micro adjustment changes everything. And all the while you can still be relaxed. Just relaxed standing up taller.

Tony Robbins worked with Andre Agassi. Agassi went from one of the top ranked tennis players to somewhere in the 50’s! The first thing Robbins did was to watch videos of Agassi when he was top ranked and then watched recent videos. It was night and day. It was like watching two entirely different people walking on the court. And in reality it was. Agassi was beaten before the match ever started. His body, his physiology, that 1/2 inch between confident and fearful made all the difference in the world. That is one of the first thing Robbins did with Agassi was to help him control his physiology in order to bring his mindset back to the winners circle.

When you are trading, how do you sit in your chair? Do you slouch, compress your diaphram so you can’t get adequate movement in your breathing? Are your shoulders hunched over? Are you defeated before you even begin? Is your chest sunken? Do you think it’s possible to hunch over, breath shallowly, and take a trade with confidence?

When you control your body it impacts your mind which in turn impacts your trading. You are now confident, relaxed, but alert. You see things much clearer. You have the feeling of a much more confident trader. This translates in to better trading decisions all around.

Learning to relax is the key to trading in other ways. The more relaxed you are, the more you will be willing to let the market come to you on YOUR terms instead of chasing. The more relaxed you are the more willing you will be to miss a trade. Most traders suffer from what I call “Miss – It – It is”. They are so afraid they are going to miss a trade they are sitting too close to the screen, some have nose prints on their screen, causing great tension and neck strain, stalking the market for a trade. Usually that trade never comes so they end up breaking their rules, taking a trade, and end up getting stopped out.

The more relaxed you are, the more willing you are to miss a trade, and the more willing you are to miss a trade, the more clearly you will see the market. This sounds a bit crazy but once you no longer care if you get a trade,  and are in a relaxed state, you will see trade after trade after trade set up before your eyes. You have not changed the market but how you perceive the market, how you “see” the market.

When you trade with total detachment, you have the “Edge”. You are in control. When you feel pressured to find a trade, the market is in total control of YOU!

Successful traders are relaxed, alert, and trade with detachment before, during, and after their trade no matter the outcome. That is what separates them from the 90% who lose. By not caring, but staying relaxed, they see the market from a winners viewpoint. They see the market for what it is, and the result is they take the best trades, at the best times, for the best reasons, and that puts them in the winners circle.

Good Trading!