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FXTM. 

You talk about our mindfulness “muscle”. Our mind is not something we learn to train at school or in our everyday routine. What are the benefits of mindfulness training outside trading performance?

S.W.

Yes the brain like the body can be flabby or toned and mindfulness training has been shown to ‘tone’ your mental muscle. Unfortunately not many schools or universities teach us about our mind or how to use it, how to develop mental muscle, although there are a growing number of schools teaching mindfulness now which is great. The benefits of mindfulness training outside of trading are of course quite similar to those you get in trading – the ‘trading brain’, and the ‘home brain’ are the same brain - , except how you notice them and how they impact you might be different. The general benefits of mindfulness include improved attention, lower levels of stress, better emotional regulation, a lower threat response, increased self-awareness, feeling more in control of your behavior, thoughts and feelings, and improved health and well-being. Outside of trading the impact on traders personal lives can be quite significant, helping them with improved relationships, greater energy and well-being, and also and really importantly learning how to ‘switch-off’ more, to get some quality downtime, including improved sleep.

FXTM. 

The book includes an 8-week training programme. What should traders expect after this training period?

S.W.

Just like with undertaking a physical training program, if you do a mental training program you will get increased fitness, in this case mind fitness, but it will of course depend on how committed they are to the program – you won’t build physical fitness through reading a book and exercising every now and again, and the same is true for mental training. If they commit fully to the program, and do all of the reading and the practices, then they can expect to potentially see a number of changes which might include improved attention and focus, being able to sustain it for longer, getting distracted less easily and recovering more quickly when they do which is a really key skill to develop for any high performer and especially for traders who often work in high distractibility environments. Also, a better ability to manage their behavior, to be more able to manage their internal thoughts and feelings and resist acting on impulse – this is of course fundamental to trading discipline and overcoming the ‘urges and temptations’ such as holding a loss, getting out of a trade too early, jumping into a trade too quickly, overtrading, taking too much risk, chasing losses etc. They may also notice lower levels of stress, through increased resilience, which will help them to deal more effectively with the highs and lows of trading, being less prone to the effects of the emotions and biological changes that come with big wins and winning runs and big losses and losing runs. The threat response can be altered through mindfulness training, so traders may find themselves less aggressive or defensive during periods of volatility and challenging events. Self-awareness is likely to improve through the training, and many traders who I have taught mindfulness approaches feedback to me and to it is a bit like they have become more of an observer of themselves. Other benefits that traders may experience are improved sleep, enhanced feelings of health and well-being, higher levels of confidence. The core benefit is reducing reactivity, and becoming more responsive, having more choice and flexibility of action, which is the foundation to greater discipline, and improved decision making.

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