These events require attention because they function in our nervous system and can not be turned off. They give us psychological tunnel vision. It's called a restricted field of consciousness, and it leads to mistakes. Angry, frustrated, anxious, sad, euphoric all contribute to this phenomenon in our nervous system. Not understanding this for yourself is costing you capital! It can be managed, and learning this skill can be a unique edge. Every minute you struggle to manage these experiences costs you money in real-time; it’s poor risk management.
Grounding techniques help control Trade Psych Traps by turning attention away from hopium, FOMO, revenge, desperation, euphoria, and the thoughts, emotions, urges fueling them. By practicing Grounding, you slow down, pull back, gain perspective, and refocus on the present moment, allowing you to execute more effectively.
You make sure you drink enough water each day. Now start making sure you ground enough every day. This is a simple way to pause, reflect, re-assess, re-focus. I recommend doing it 3x intraday minimum. It only takes a minute or two. Open your mind and try some of these, after one week, 3x a day. You can be trading better!
Here’s how to do it:
Physical Grounding Techniques:
These techniques use your five senses or tangible objects — things you can touch — to help you move through distress.
1. Put your hands in water
Focus on the water’s temperature and how it feels on your fingertips, palms, and the backs of your hands. Does it feel the same in each part of your hand?
2. Pick up or touch items near you
Are the things you touch soft or hard? Heavy or light? Warm or cool? Focus on the texture and color of each item. Challenge yourself to think of specific colors, such as crimson, burgundy, indigo, or turquoise, instead of simply red or blue.
3. Breathe deeply
Slowly inhale, then exhale. If it helps, you can say or think “in” and “out” with each breath. Feel each breath filling your lungs and note how it feels to push it back out.
4. Savor a food or drink
Take small bites or sips of a food or beverage you enjoy, letting yourself fully taste each bite. Think about how it tastes and smells and the flavors that linger on your tongue.
5. Take a short walk
Concentrate on your steps — you can even count them. Notice the rhythm of your footsteps and how it feels to put your foot on the ground and then lift it again.
6. Hold a piece of ice
What does it feel like at first? How long does it take to start melting? How does the sensation change when the ice begins to melt?
7. Savor a scent
Is there a fragrance that appeals to you? This might be a cup of tea, an herb or spice, a favorite soap, or a scented candle. Inhale the fragrance slowly and deeply and try to note its qualities (sweet, spicy, sharp, citrusy, and so on).
8. Move your body
Do a few exercises or stretches. You could try jumping jacks, jumping up and down, jumping rope, jogging in place, or stretching different muscle groups one by one. Pay attention to how your body feels with each movement and when your hands or feet touch the floor or move through the air. How does the floor feel against your feet and hands? If you jump rope, listen to the sound of the rope in the air and when it hits the ground.
9. Listen to your surroundings
Take a few moments to listen to the noises around you. Do you hear birds? Dogs barking? Machinery or traffic? If you hear people talking, what are they saying? Do you recognize the language? Let the sounds wash over you and remind you where you are.
10. Feel your body
You can do this sitting or standing. Focus on how your body feels from head to toe, noticing each part.
Can you feel your hair on your shoulders or forehead?
Glasses on your ears or nose?
The weight of your shirt on your shoulders?
Do your arms feel loose or stiff at your sides?
Can you feel your heartbeat? Is it rapid or steady?
Does your stomach feel full, or are you hungry?
Are your legs crossed, or are your feet resting on the floor?
Is your back straight?
11. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 method
Working backward from 5, use your senses to list things you notice around you. For example, you might start by listing five things you hear, then four things you see, then three things you can touch from where you’re sitting, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Make an effort to notice the little things you might not always pay attention to, such as the color of the flecks in the carpet or the hum of your computer.
Mental Grounding Techniques:
These grounding exercises use mental distractions to help redirect your thoughts away from distressing feelings and back to the present.
12. Play a memory game
Look at a detailed photograph or picture (like a cityscape or other “busy” scene) for 5 to 10 seconds. Then, turn the photograph face-down and recreate the photograph in your mind, in as much detail as possible. Or, you can mentally list all the things you remember from the picture.
13. Think in categories
Choose one or two broad categories, such as “musical instruments,” “ice cream flavors,” “mammals,” or “baseball teams.” Take a minute or two to mentally list as many things from each category as you can.
14. Use math and numbers
Even if you aren’t a math person, numbers can help center you.
running through a times table in your head.
counting backward from 100
choosing a number and thinking of five ways you could make the number (6 + 11 = 17, 20 – 3 = 17, 8 × 2 + 1 = 17, etc.)
15. Recite something
Think of a poem, song, or book passage you know by heart. Recite it quietly to yourself or in your head. If you say the words aloud, focus on the shape of each word on your lips, and in your mouth. If you say the words in your head, visualize each word as you’d see it on a page.
16. Make yourself laugh
You might also make yourself laugh by watching your favorite funny animal video, a clip from a comedian or TV show you enjoy, or anything else you know will make you laugh.
Soothing Grounding Techniques:
You can use these techniques to comfort yourself in times of emotional distress. These exercises can help promote good feelings that may help the negative feelings fade or seem less overwhelming.
17. Picture the voice or face of someone you love
If you feel upset or distressed, visualize someone positive in your life. Imagine their face or think of what their voice sounds like. Imagine them telling you that the moment is tough, but that you’ll get through it.
18. Practice self-kindness
Repeat kind, compassionate phrases to yourself:
“You’re having a rough time, but you’ll make it through.”
“You’re strong, and you can move through this pain.”
Say it, either aloud or in your head, as many times as you need.
19.. Sit with your pet
If you’re at home and have a pet, spend a few moments just sitting with them. If they’re of the furry variety, pet them, focusing on how their fur feels. Focus on their markings or unique characteristics. If you have a smaller pet you can hold, concentrate on how they feel in your hand.
Not at home? Think of your favorite things about your pet or how they would comfort you if they were there.
20. List favorites
List three favorite things in several different categories, such as foods, trees, songs, movies, books, places, and so on.
21. Visualize your favorite place
Think of your favorite place, whether it’s the home of a loved one or a foreign country. Use all of your senses to create a mental image. Think of the colors you see, sounds you hear, and sensations you feel on your skin.
Remember the last time you were there. Who were you with, if anyone? What did you do there? How did you feel?
22. Plan an activity
This might be something you do alone or with a friend or loved one. Think of what you’ll do and when. Maybe you’ll go to dinner, take a walk on the beach, see a movie you’ve been looking forward to, or visit a museum.
Focus on the details, such as what you’ll wear, when you’ll go, and how you’ll get there.
23. Touch something comforting
This could be your favorite blanket, a much-loved T-shirt, a smooth stone, a soft carpet, or anything that feels good to touch. Think about how it feels under your fingers or in your hand. If you have a favorite sweater, scarf, or pair of socks, put them on and spend a moment thinking about the sensation of the fabric on your skin.
24. List positive things
Write or mentally list four or five things in your life that bring you joy, visualizing each of them briefly.
25. Listen to music
Put on your favorite song, but pretend you’re listening to it for the first time. Focus on the melody and lyrics (if there are any). Does the song give you chills or create any other physical sensations? Pay attention to the parts that stand out most to you.