Welcome back to guest blogger Mo Christiensen of TradingAdviceBlog.com. Mo has been a full time trader of the emini S&P 500 futures since 2003 and through his blog he works with new and developing traders to help them speed up the learning curve to trading profitably. In particular Mo specializes in the important area of emotional management.
As traders we've chosen an intense profession, one with a very high potential for stress. The simple act of putting our money on the line, with an uncertain outcome, creates an emotional force which we need to know how to handle. If we don't, the emotional excitement of fear, euphoria, anger, disappointment, and other intense feelings, clouds our judgment and affects our ability to stay in the opportunity flow of the market.
Trading with these emotions in play, is akin to driving in a storm without windshield wipers. We can't see the road clearly, and accidents are very likely to happen!
Here's the good news. Learning to clear your emotions is easy, and pleasurable. You'll feel such relief that you'll wonder why you didn't do it long ago. Your trading will be affected in dramatic ways, as you let go of the destructive results of trading while blinded. Not only that, but once transformed into positive feelings, you can use these new emotions to inspire you and find new enthusiasm for improving your trading skills.
In this post, I'm going to tell you about two easy to learn techniques that get fantastic results!
As Dr Brett Steenbarger reminds traders regularly, emotions aren't bad. Some of the best traders are very emotional. They use that energy to drive their performance and to continually improve. The fact is that we can't get rid of emotions even if we want to. Unless you are a Vulcan, you are going to have emotions! The key is learning how to work with them, and transform them so that they are a positive force.
While many of us have learned or are learning the technical skills of trading, the area of emotional management is something that many traders overlook in their eduction. Its sad really that we're not taught how to work with our emotions as kids. Most of us learnt quite the opposite, how to escape or push down our emotions through television, food, exercise, drugs or in other ways. And now after many years of practice we are all expert at avoiding the pain of difficult emotions. But avoiding doesn't help. The emotions are still there stored as stress in our body, and waiting in our subconscious for the right trigger to come out again. Its time for a change.
Before you get gung ho with the emotional clearing, first here's a really important point. Our emotions are trying to tell us something. Its critical that we don't avoid or even transform our emotions without first finding out what they are trying to tell us. All the positive thinking and feeling in the world will not help you if you don't have a trading edge. Take a look at 10 Ways to Deconstruct Your Trading and Build a Better Plan and 10 More Ways to Deconstruct Your Trading and Build a Better Plan if you need help with that.
Now let's take a look at emotional clearing.
In general I've found that there are two types of clearing that I need to do. One type is quick, short term clearing of emotions while I'm trading. And the other type is clearing out older, longer term emotions that may be affecting my perspective, or causing a slump etc.
I use two different techniques, one called the Sedona Method which I use for short term clearing. Its quick, effective and easy to use even while you are trading. And if you want to start by learning just one technique, you can also use this for longer term clearing as well.
There's nothing scary involved. No voodoo, brainwashing or electrodes! You simply ask yourself a series of questions which causes a release of emotion. In fact, the Sedona Method is so simple, that on first sight you may wonder how something so basic can work so well. I don't know why, but I do know that it works amazingly, and that it has been validated and proven to work in studies by the Harvard Medical School.
To do the technique in its simplest form, you first learn to just let the emotion be there, without fighting it, without running away from it. Then you ask yourself three questions. "Could I let it go?", "Would I?", "When?". Once you have learned the subtleties of the technique, its that easy.
Now imagine that you are trading. You place a trade, and get stopped out at a loss. That loss brings up strong emotions for you, which clouds your perspective. You are so caught up in feeling bad about your losing trade that you miss the next opportunity just a few minutes later, a trade which would have been very profitable.
Rewind: Imagine that you are trading. You place a trade, and get stopped out at a loss. That loss brings up strong emotions for you. You quickly run through the Sedona Method and clear the emotion. Your perspective is clear and you immediately see the next opportunity and are able to respond to it. Your emotional clearing skill has supported a profitable trade.
In this situation, I would also follow up at the end of the day by doing a deeper clearing to clear whatever it is that is causing the extreme reaction to losing. For this I'd use a technique called Core Transformation. It also involves a simple and easy to learn series of questions that you ask yourself in order to communicate with the part of you that is feeling the intense emotion. You learn to identify what that part wants for you, and then continue to guide it through simple questionning to its core state - very positive energy.
Like every trader I’ve had hundreds, probably thousands of experiences of feeling strong emotions before, during or after a trade which I’ve been able to quickly transform into a calm, positive, opportunistic state in which I can see the market much more clearly. By using these two clearing techniques I've found that I’m much better prepared to execute each trade as a unique opportunity, and to maintain a positive approach to developing as a trader.
I hope you find this beneficial and get as much pleasure from emotional clearing as I do. It feels great to be clear!
If you'd like to learn the Sedona Method properly, I recommend starting with the Sedona Method book. You can also read FAQ's here. If you are interested in finding out more about Core Transformation you can read the book Core Transformation or learn the method in detail through the DVD of the training course.
All the best!