Trading in the Flow State - Tips for Outstanding Performance
You can read the episode transcript below or watch the video that follows.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us. We look forward to being a continued part of your trading education!
Today I'm going to share with you some techniques that will put you in the flow state. The flow state is the state in which time slows down and we see everything clearly. This is the state that we would want to trade from in our trading as much as possible because we will see the market clearly and we'll make great decisions.
Let's talk about how we do this. I'm gonna teach you a technique today called three part breathing. I learned three part breathing from Dr. Neil Fiore. I worked with Neil as a coach and Neil wrote an amazing book called The Now Habit: a strategic program for overcoming procrastination and enjoying guilt free play, I highly recommend this book. Now, Dr. Fiore taught me this technique of three part breathing and I'm going to share this with you. Three part breathing is a technique that is designed to put you in the flow state. The first thing we're going to do is we're going to sit up in our chair, or if you're sitting on the floor, that's fine. We're going to sit in a way that our head is above our spine and we're going to sit in a way that our hips are against the back of the chair and our legs are flat, it gets the bottom of the seat. We're going to do three deep breaths. With each deep breath, we're going to inhale, we're going to hold our breath and tense our muscles.
You might change it from breath to breath, I typically on one breath will contract my shoulders and my arms, my biceps, my neck, and other breath I'll contract my abdomen region, my stomach, and another breath. I'll contract my leg muscles, my calves, my hamstrings, my glutes. We're going to hold our breath, we're going to tense these muscles. Then we're gonna exhale slowly letting the muscles release and each time we do we're going to float down into the chair or into the floor becoming heavier, becoming one with the chair, becoming one with the floor. As we do this, we're going to go through three breaths. The first breath, we'll do this together, take a deep breath in, now we're going to tense our muscles so I'm going to tense my my neck, shoulders and arms. Then I'm going to exhale and as I exhale, I'm going to say to myself, I released my mind and body from the past. So it's going to look like this, I release my body, my mind and body from the past.
Okay, then we'll move on to breath two. Breath two, as we inhale, we're going to let go of all images of what we think might happen in the future. This is where anxiety comes from, including the need to be right on our trades. As we exhale, we're going to say I bring my mind back from the imaginary future. So deep breath in, contract, exhale, I bring my mind back from an imaginary future. Feeling myself sinking into the chair.
Then we move on to breath three. Breaths three, as we inhale, we're going to say I choose to be in the present moment in front of this trade. I let go of trying to control the market and I notice how little effort it takes to simply breathe comfortably and have the right focus to accept the market just as it is. As we exhale, we're going to say I bring my mind into the present. To inhale, I choose to be in this present moment in front of this trade. I let go of trying to control the market. I noticed how little effort it takes to simply breathe comfortably and have the right focus to accept the market just as it is. Contract, exhale, and bring my mind into the present. So obviously you'll do this on your own in a rhythm. On the inhale, you're going to think it, on the exhale, you could speak it.
After we do these three breaths, then we're going to do three more breaths, we're going to count up from one to three. For the first three breaths, if you want, you can count down from three to one, and then for the next three breaths, you're going to count up. When we count down in numbers, it relaxes us, it takes this down into lower brainwave states. As we count up, it's going to pick up our energy and it's going to raise our brain level states. Okay, so breath number one is the exhale I would say I becoming more adequately alert with each breath. Breath number two, I am curious to feel how I connect with the market. Breath number three, I will follow my rules and let my trading decisions be blessed by divine guidance.
Now at this point, I've put myself in a flow state. Each time I come to sit down to trade, I'm going to go through this three-part breathing. I'm going to lower myself down, I'm going to bring myself back up into state and I'll be ready to go. You might consider anchoring that so that when you're done, you have some kind of physical motion, and I'll snap. So I come up, deep breathe in, exhale, I will follow my rules and let my trading decisions be blessed by divine guidance. Now I've anchored myself. The anchor puts me into the state it anchors the state.
Now I'm gonna introduce another technique to you it's called a Pomodoro block. Pomodoro blocks are awesome for being able to trade well. What we're going to do, Francesco Cirillo invented the Pomodoro system in the late 1880s and the technique got its name, because he literally used a tomato timer, a cooking timer that was used to time eggs. The idea was, is he turned on the timer, and he would focus on one topic, until the timer expired, and he'd give himself a break. The idea by this strategy is that you are completely focusing on one task at a time, in this case, trading, without shifting focus or multitasking whatsoever. Trading is a concentration game, want to be dialed in. So we set a timer. My favorite timer is the focus keeper in the app store. Start at 25 minutes, at the end of 25 minutes, give yourself a five minute break. The app tracks all that for you. So you set a timer to help you focus and you simply ignore the urge to stray. You just trade you don't check your email. You don't look at social media, you don't get up and go to the bathroom, you don't answer texts, you're just locked in on the market. This is important understand that the market takes focus and we want to make sure our focus is like a muscle. It gets fatigued. We want to make sure we have optimum focus on we trade. So we're going to focus in using Pomodoro sessions and a Pomodoro block. When we use the Pomodoro, then we get completely in the zone.
So, we use 3 part breathing to put us into the flow state and we're going to stay there. The idea of this is we do three part breathing every time we sit down to trade, or some of you could even do it as a pre trade routine. I just do it and sit down to trade. Then we're going to be in front of the screen no longer than 25 minutes. At the ended 25 minutes, when it expires we're going to take a five minute break and when we take our break, we're going to physically get up and walk away from the desk. One little hack to keep body fat off is if you get up from your desk and you walk even just a little bit, every 25 to 30 minutes it will have a significant impact on your metabolism. Not only will help you trade better, it will keep you looking better, which is great. So, we're going to be at the screen no longer than 25 minutes. We're gonna take a five minute break, we get up and walk around, we're going to reset ourselves. Removing ourselves from the desk is awesome because it relieves us of our attachments and breaks our attachments to the market and allows us to reset ourselves. Then we come back, we do the three part breathing again to kick off the new 25 minute session.
Four Pomodoro sessions equals what's called a Pomodoro block. Now there's no right or wrong way to do this, you could do more, you could do less, but this is a nice frame. Four sessions equals one block, and one block is two hours. So you trade for two hours and at the end of every block, you take a 15 to 30 minute break. You go get a snack, you go walk outside, you go watch a video. I advise you to set this up like a reward system. Give yourself a reward for completing the block. You can do something in 15 to 30 minutes, you can go get your favorite coffee, go get a snack or like I said walk outside or call your spouse or whatever it is, but do something fun that removes you from the market and you can come back and do another Pomodoro block. You don't need to trade eight hours a day to be successful, you can have two to three Pomodoro blocks a day and be set. This includes doing your prep work.
Here's a map of the Pomodoro Technique, where we trade for 25 minutes, we take a five minute break, we trade for 25 minutes, we take a five minute break, we trade for 25 minutes, we take a five minute break, we trade for 25 minutes. That completes our four sessions. This concludes our block, so we take a 15 to 30 minute break. This is highly effective. One of the problems that people have in trading is they sit in front of the screen too long. The longer you sit in front of the screen, the worse your trading performance is going to be. Step back and look at what we're doing. We're doing a three part breathing to put ourselves in state. We stay in the state for 25 minutes and we take a break. We do it again, three part breathing, 25 minutes in state, we take a break. We do this four times and at the end of four times then we take a bigger break. Constantly breaking ourselves of being attached to the screen. Keeping us fresh, keeping us healthy. You will find that you will trade much better using this technique.
How'd we do? This is what Trader Tip Tuesday is all about right? Trader Tip Tuesday is about coming in here and me sharing with you elite tips like these to help you perform at an elite level. Try this. Try three part breathing and the Pomodoro block. I think you'd be amazed at what it can do for you. Alright, I'll see you next Tuesday have a kick ass week.
Sign Up to Stay Up to Date on Trading Matrix Tips...
Straight To Your Inbox
If you've not already done so, sign up below to receive emails when we release new Trade Talks, Trader Tip Tuesday episodes, new classes + services, latest events, and more.