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Measuring your Heart Rate Variability
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Measuring your Heart Rate Variability

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Measuring your Heart Rate Variability

I would like to continue a discussion started by Gary about biofeedback https://futures.io/psychology-money-management/4085-recommendation-personal-biofeedback-devices.html and inspired by Brett Steenbarger TraderFeed: Biofeedback for Performance: A Best Practice in Trading

This is a home made, not scientific, recepe that I would like to share and explore, therefore I wanted to keep it separated from the original thread.

Our trading performances are strongly related to our state of mind (focused or in the zone, stressed, impulsive etc…) which translate into different Heart Rate patterns. Some of us have been recording themselves with the web camera during the trading activity in order to study the facial expressions and find results correlations. I believe HRV is a much simpler and more effective way to measure our emotions. The purpose is to identify Heart Rate patterns, as we usually do with our charts, indies, PA etc. These areas would alert us against cognitive regression, a state of mind disorder that leads to false judgment and application of our common rules with consequent lost of money (revenge trading, miss interpretation of PA, confusion, insecurity, fear etc…).

The tool to record HRV is one of those cardio watches that you can find on the net (price starting at 50 USD) . The HRV is very subjective and depends on many factors: age, style of life, weight, diet etc… As for any method everybody has to find its own HRV limits and relate them to the trading activity. The nice thing about those watches you can set lows and highs Heart Beat alerts just like in your indies. The idea is to record on your trading journal or decision matrix, the HB levels and to identify those area where certain levels or frequencies correspond to a negative output.

Like I said, this is a home made recepe, but it’s an easy and still reasonable solution to better know your inner state of mind. There are also professional and scientific tools like Hearth Math de-stress, stress survey, well-being, stress solutions, lower stress, stress management tools, Institute of HeartMath, as far as I am concerned I like the “do it yourself way”. If this approach will not bring any results you can use the cardio watch for your jogging, a fit and in shape trader is always good for your trading.

I will start buying a cardio watch and record data during my trading. This could take some days or weeks to fit the learning curve, if anybody had experiences on the topic feel free to share.


Last edited by redratsal; May 25th, 2011 at 06:39 AM.
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Looking forward, it can be very interesting. I do HR tracking on workouts but is not a watch that I can use whenever I want...

I try to control my HR because I stayed on max rates in past workouts and I don't like to stay in that "risky" extreme too long (is ok for a short period of time). Staying calm and breathing correctly while I'm doing my exercises keep my HR from going to these extremes, but is interesting how a bad day, or when I don't concentrate in doing that, I go to that maximum rate and it stays longer. Maybe is just my perception but I think that my good mind-set is what really controls the HR, with good breathing and concentrating in the exercise and not in my emotions. By the other hand, when I started tracking HR (watching it actively) it increased my HR because I was nervous about it until I got comfortable looking at it.

For example, I remember my last trade. I exited too early and I had the same sensation I had on my workouts, I held my breath longer and it increased my fears.

Not science background on anything I said, just experiences.

Btw, interesting post from Brett Steenbarger.

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This is how my HRV data matrix could look like:
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As BCNTrader has correctly noted, I will not consider results of the initial and final phase which might interfer with the readings and take significant data based on the curve bell:


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Find attached a study with scientific outcomes on how HRV and HR are related to worries. I included the original and highlighted versions.

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Measuring  your Heart Rate Variability-daily-worry-hrv.pdf   Measuring  your Heart Rate Variability-daily-worry-hrv-highlighted.pdf  
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HRV and emotions

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Measuring  your Heart Rate Variability-hrv-emotions-highlighted.pdf  
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I should loan ya'll some of the gear they made me wear for a while.

There was the heart monitor that down loaded data to the hospital computer, save ya'll having to write stuff down. It also had an audible alert that went off if ya went over a certain threshold. Saves you a lot of time you usually spend looking at porn... because you're afraid it'll set the alarm off...

Oh and my personal fave, the strap on defibrillator with electrodes you glue to your chest. If ya fall over... it automatically "jump starts " your heart. Puts an end to the urge to take a nap ... let me tell ya....

But I'm glad ya'll are thinking about this stuff beforehand... my suggestion is... eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of rest, hug your children and get laid occasionally...

I'm just a simple man trading a simple plan.

My daddy always said, "Every day above ground is a good day!"
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HRV

Perhaps a personal experience of mine may be of interest to this tread. In early 2000, and my 20th year as a NASDAQ market maker at one of the most active and prestigious houses on wall street, I wore a Pulsar Heart Rate Monitor with chest belt to work. For those of you that remember this period in the equity markets....it was nothing less than insane. At the time I was a recreational runner of 30 miles a week. One day it dawned on me that I should wear the HRM to work check my HR at the opening. Openings were simply crazy and I was very interested to see the results of this experiment. But to my surprise and astonishment THERE WAS NO NOTICEABLE CHANGE IN MY HR. I could not believe my eyes.

ab

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ThatManFromTexas View Post
I should loan ya'll some of the gear they made me wear for a while.

There was the heart monitor that down loaded data to the hospital computer, save ya'll having to write stuff down. It also had an audible alert that went off if ya went over a certain threshold. Saves you a lot of time you usually spend looking at porn... because you're afraid it'll set the alarm off...

Oh and my personal fave, the strap on defibrillator with electrodes you glue to your chest. If ya fall over... it automatically "jump starts " your heart. Puts an end to the urge to take a nap ... let me tell ya....

But I'm glad ya'll are thinking about this stuff beforehand... my suggestion is... eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of rest, hug your children and get laid occasionally...

Thanks for your contribution TMFT,

I believe that even if you have a balanced and healthy life,and luckely that's my case, you might have some bad days, your state of mind and mood are consequently not fit for trading. The purpose of this study is to eventually locate patterns on my HR and HRV that could identify these "no go" zones (subjective). It doesn't mean I need to measure my heart beat for a lifetime; once I have identified the events that caused the "no go" I'll only need to avoid trading and dedicate the journey to: eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of rest, hug my dogs and get laid occasionally....

Tradind is a war and since you like quotes:

"If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles."

Sun Tzu

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