Over this series of blog posts, I’ll be sharing things about your brain which will tell you the what, why and how you behave the way you do. I’ll always talk from these two perspectives (neuroscience and meditation). If you are interested in understanding your mind in ways you’ve always wanted to know (but could never understand), you’ll want to scrutinize every word and post in this blog. First step: weighing in on the western concept of psychology.
Trading psychology is dead. Yep, I said it. The days of laying on the couch, talking about your feelings and your relationship with your mother are gone. The good thing is, many trading psychologists are starting to catch up to this.
Why do I say trading psychology (as we know it) is dead? Two reasons (although I have many more):
1) An increase in mental illness
2) Alternatives proving to be far superior
Mental Illness on the Rise
We have more ‘psychologists’ today than we had a decade or two ago.
Yet right now 70% of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, 50% on at least two or more, and a stunning 1 in 5 are on five medications (or more). The second most common prescription is antidepressants. 1 in 4 adults (61.5 million Americans) experience mental illness in any given year, with 20% of kids aged 13-18 experiencing severe mental disorders.
This isn’t a sign of mental health, or that the field of psychology is working. It’s backfiring as these numbers are growing. That doesn’t mean there aren’t valuable things psychologists can do, and that they can’t benefit people (they can). But I’ll let one of their own demonstrate this.
Daniel Amen (a psychiatrist) really hammers home the point of how the old models of psychology (and psychiatry) are outdated, if not dead: “Psychiatrists, then and now, make diagnosis like they did in 1840’s when Abraham Lincoln was depressed by talking to people and looking for symptom clusters.”
To further this point: “Did you know that psychiatrists are the only medical specialists that virtually never look at the organ they treat…psychiatrists guess.”
Keep in mind, it was the ‘psychologists’ who thought trepanning & lobotomy were considered reliable practices in dealing with mental illness (not too long ago).
Alternatives Proving to Be Far Superior
The good thing is, within the last 10 years or so, alternatives are rising. People are discovering Neuroscience as offering real answers and solutions to their everyday problems. This field has learned more about the brain and our behavior in the last decade than the entire body of psychological thought for the last century.
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Nobody is showing study after study how the brain changes (for the better) from talking with your therapist. But everyday people (particularly psychologists) are talking about how meditation changes your brain.
Even Brett Steenbarger (whom I like) talks about how meditation is (at least) as effective for treating depression and anxiety. To wit:
“Mindfulness training (meditation) has been found to lower rates of relapse among substance abusers in part by aiding coping efforts…one study has found mindfulness training to be as effective as cognitive-behavioral treatment for depression and anxiety.”
Translation: A 2,000+ year-old technique (meditation) and a new kid on the block (neuroscience) tell you more about your brain (and behaviors) than the entire corpus of psychological thought from the last 200 years. Just to stay afloat, they are borrowing from those above fields.
It is time for a more complete and holistic approach in how we relate to our minds and mental well-being, particularly as traders. I call this Trading Psychology 2.0, and it combines the two fields above (meditation and neuroscience).
I’ll also be sharing a meditation practice I’ve been using every day for the last 15 years.
Just 10-20 minutes a day of this practice can supercharge your brain, increase your IQ, elevate your EQ (Emotional IQ), increase your mental health, reduce cognitive decline, and amplify your learning process for trading (or any skill for that matter).
For those wanting to stop making the same mistakes in trading (over and over again), and amplify your strengths (while getting over your weaknesses)…enjoy the ride. By taking on this blog, practices and material in full, you can become a different person from the one you are starting here. You can literally change your brain. Time to build a better version of you (no holes in the head required).
Previous Blog Posts by Chris Capre: