Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are... Chinese Proverb
Stress kills, and trading is among the most stressful of any profession. Stress-related illness accounts for between 75-90% of all doctor visits.
Take any disease known to man, and you will find:
It's caused by stress
It's made worse by stress
If you get it, you will have stress
In this faster and faster forward world where traders are bombarded with date, information, opinion and price movement, we must find a way to turn down the volume. By setting aside 20 minutes once or twice a day we see enormous benefits to the body. These include: clearer thinking, lowered blood pressure, increased oxygen consumption by the body and brain, less fatigue and increased well-being.
Perhaps the simplest way to get into a state of de-stress and tame anxiety is The Relaxation Response. First described in a book by Herbert Benson, M.D., the technique is easy to learn, can be done anywhere, and the benefits to mind, body and spirit are enormous.
Here are the simple steps to The Relaxation Response:
1. Pick a focus word that resonates with your belief system. This can be anything you like: one, om, God, Shalom, peace, love...
2. Sit in a comfortable position with eyes closed.
3. Breathe naturally and slowly as you begin to progressively collapse your muscles--beginning at your feet and working up to your face. Let your brain become a distant observer and feel it soften and pour gently down into your spinal column.
4. Keep breathing slowly and repeating your focus word. If thoughts come to you, see them as leaves falling softly to the ground and return to your focus word and your breathing.
5. Do this for 20 minutes then open your eyes and sit quietly for another minute or so. Wait another minute before rising, or allow yourself to simply be in the relaxed state until you are ready to stand up or get back to your work.
6. That's it. Simple, easy and quick.
Practicing The Relaxation Response once or twice a day will make an enormous change in your anxiety and stress levels. You may not notice the benefits immediately, but--with practice--they will become clear to you and you will want to make this an integral part of your life.
Every now and then, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer... Leonardo da Vinci
Janice Dorn, M.D., Ph.D.