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How to Cultivate Your Mental Edge in This Market Downturn

How to Cultivate Your Mental Edge in This Market Downturn

The markets continue to be volatile on coronavirus fears, and it’s affecting traders and investors around the globe.

But not all traders are impacted the same way.

Market downturns can be a boon for some and dark periods for others.

It all depends on your style, time-frame, skillsets, and a magic topping called luck.

Personally, I’ve already forfeited all of the gains I’ve accumulated so far this year in my bigger trading account.

In this account, I trade a Long-only strategy on the weekly time frame, and I’ve temporarily halted the trading in there to limit the damage caused by false Long signals –I believe the uncertainty level is quite high in the market right now, which means that we should expect more volatility in the short to medium term.

On the other hand, I have a smaller trading account that I reserve for riskier, short term options trades.

In this account, I use a strategy called The Rainmaker.

For those of you that know about this strategy and are testing or trading it, you know it’s been really good at signaling this market downturn and capturing a good chunk of the move.

So, I’ve had some profitable trades this past week and my smaller account is currently up as a result.

But my bigger trading account is down for the year, and that’s not exactly what I want to see.

Prioritizing Mindset management

Losses are hard, but the year is young, and there are lots of opportunities ahead to make it all back, and much, much more.

The only thing is that the opportunities will only appear to those that are prepared and able to maintain a sober mind.

Hence, I can’t stress enough the importance of mindset management.

As a trader, you want to train yourself to approach trading in a way that’s sustainable as opposed to letting it be something that consistently plays with your emotions and wears you down.

Keep this in mind: risk management and mindset management is how you stay alive until the profits show up.

If you’re new to trading, it’s crucial that you understand that the market isn’t a cash cow that you get to milk whenever you want.

The market gives on its own time.

You just have to pay attention and go with the flow.

Step back when things are uncertain; step in when things are less uncertain… that’s how you make it long term.

Using This Time for Retreat and Introspection

Speaking of stepping back, I personally find volatile markets and uncertain times to be an amazing moment for a short retreat –until the dust settles.

Imagine this: you sign up for a retreat… you put aside your daily life and worries, and you go to this place in the middle of nowhere.

There, you remove yourself from the busy, noisy world and find space for quiet, solitude, meditation, reflection, calm, perspective, inspiration, gratitude, etc.

That’s exactly what I’m doing soon, for 20 days.

I’m heading on an intensive silent meditation retreat where I’ll be secluded from the rest of the world –no internet, news or people to talk to, just me and my mind for 20 days, and I’ll be using this time for meditation and reflection.

Now, you don’t have to leave everything behind and go away like this to reflect and find peace and perspective in your life.

It’s just what I like to do, and I do it at least once a year (more if I can).

You can do all of this without traveling, right where you are, in the comfort of your own home.

Granted, it takes intention, commitment, and a willingness to take action to create the space, but it’s absolutely possible.

In fact, it’s actually better this way especially if you have a family, a job and other responsibilities and can’t afford to just leave for a few days.

Here are a four steps you could take to create the space for reflection, peace, and perspective.

#1. – Cut out The Noise

Refrain from checking the market for a few days, so that you can contemplate and reflect.

Here’s an analogy that I used in a blog post not long ago: when you stand too close to a tree, you can’t even see that there’s a tree there.

You only see a blurry mass of color.

But as you step back a little bit, you start to see shapes, more colors, more details.

When you step back way further, you begin to see that there’s a tree there.

And as you keep stepping back, you see a whole bunch of other trees… you see the whole forest.

Similarly, in our lives, we can’t see the bigger picture if we don’t step away from the noise — which clouds our thinking.

So, if you want to cultivate your mental edge in this market, this is essential.

#2. – Reflect

Use a paper notebook and practice journaling.

If you’re holding onto something (a feeling of loss of control or deep uncertainty because of a recent trading loss), let yourself fully express that on paper.

Maybe go for daily walks in the forest. This quiet time in nature, away from the noise in the world will help regain clarity.

It’s also a good time to reflect on how things have gone, are going, and how you’d like them to go in the future.

Contemplate what’s most meaningful to you in your life.

We don’t often give ourselves such time for reflection, so creating the space for that is an amazing opportunity to get more detailed about what we want to create for ourselves.

#3. – Meditate

Market downturns can be times of doubt, stress, irritability, and overall unhappiness.

A formal sitting meditation practice is a good time to look into what you’re feeling, the texture and characteristics of your emotions and thoughts… but meditation also helps you develop focus, patience, and self-restraint.

And needless to say that the skills you acquire when you practice meditation automatically carry over into everything you do — and that includes trading.

So, if you want to cultivate your mental edge in the market, this is a must! If you are a trader and don’t have a practice, you’re not maximizing your chances of success.

#4. – Practice Gratitude

We often don’t want things to be the way they are. We don’t want this trading loss or that stressful situation… but, we can’t control the world, we can only control ourselves and the way we respond.

If you can accept that things are the way they are, you can make peace with that fact, and appreciate it for what it is. You can find a way to love reality just as it is with its ups and downs.

When you approach the market with that mindset, you’ll see how everything just turns into an opportunity.

Last Few Words

If done properly, this ‘turning inward’ and time spent away from the noise will replenish you while helping you see things differently.

You’ll come to make better decisions in the market and attract more success in your life.

But the key thing is not to get caught up in your usual habits of obsessing over the market, taking trades you shouldn’t take, and feeling bad about yourself and your performance.

One way or the other, you have to break that cycle to be a winning trader.

As said above, risk management and mindset management is how you stay alive until the profits show up.

And this market downturn is a great reminder of that.

Once again, I’ll be away soon for 20 days. If you try to reach me, know that I’ll probably take some time to get back to you (I’ll be back at the end of the month), but my posts and tweets are scheduled in advance and going out at specific times as usual.

Until then, I wish you all the very best!

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Yvan
I've been trading for a living since 2006. By merging mindfulness (an in-depth study of the mind and its tendencies in the present moment), a good trading process, and an efficient business practice, I went from being a losing trader to a consistently profitable one. Through my work here at Trading Composure, I aim at helping you do the same.
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