Traders Can Get “In the Zone,” Too

Focus: TRADING

Gary Dayton Image Gary Dayton Founder, TradingPsychologyEdge.com

Trade psychologist Dr. Gary Dayton discusses how mindfulness, a learned skill, can help traders to sharpen focus and facilitate better trading decisions.

My guest today is Dr. Gary Dayton. He’s here to talk to us about "mindfulness" and how that can help us as traders to make better decisions in the market. Dr. Dayton, first of all, what is mindfulness?

Well, mindfulness is a quality of attention. It’s paying attention on purpose in the present moment without judgment. 

We typically are frequent flyers into the past or off to the future, and we tend to evaluate everything that comes into our awareness as either good or bad; "Do I like this, do I not like this?" Those are conditioned ways of thinking, habitual ways of thinking, that are not necessarily helpful to the trader. 

Mindfulness does a number of things, and in fact, the recent research is showing that it is actually altering brain structure.

Just 30 minutes a day over a couple of months will affect the centers of memory and learning, the emotional regulation centers of the brain, even things like perspective taking, all of which are important to traders and are positively influenced by mindfulness.

See related: Better Trading Through Mindfulness

The practice of mindfulness can help us to increase our focus and our concentration. Athletes often refer to this as being "in the zone." It’s a quality of consciousness where time seems to slow down, the complex patterns of the market become clearer, trading cues become clearer, our entries and our exits become sharper, all by mindful practice. 

How do I actually put that into practice on a daily basis?