Perhaps one of the reasons trading is so difficult is that it often requires one to look for trading opportunities during off-hours and make trade after trade during the trading day. It can be tedious and hard to keep at it. Even the most exciting, rewarding activity can become commonplace if one has to do it over and over without fail. Trading can feel that way at times.
One can spend hours developing a set of detailed trading plans only to spend even more time during the trading day looking for the right market conditions, and then having to implement the plans repeatedly. Even seasoned traders discuss how it takes mental stamina to trade continuously. But humans aren’t machines. The human mind has limited mental energy, and there are times when psychological resources are taxed to the limit.
Long-term survival requires one to step aside, relax, and rejuvenate before going back in to tackle the market action. It is essential that you gauge where you stand in terms of your mental energy and keep trading when you can do it, but relax when you need to. Doing so will ensure that you don’t make trading errors because you are stressed out and that you trade in a peak performance mind state.
There are times when our mental energy is taxed to the limit. There are telltale signs of mental fatigue. One can no longer concentrate easily. It’s hard to maintain attention. The mind keeps wandering. One is easily distracted with irrelevant issues: “What am I going to have for dinner? When can I take a break?” Even the slightest sign of a setback makes one feel uneasy and agitated. One is easily frustrated or angered. Continuing to trade under these conditions can lead to impulsive decisions.
Implementing a trading plan, for example, requires that one maintain attention. If psychological energy is depleted, little energy is left to devote to monitoring the trade. At these times, it is vital that you take a rest. Take a break and go for a walk before continuing to trade (but make sure that you have used your automatic settings on your trading platform or that you don’t have a critical trade on). In addition to taking a break occasionally, it’s also essential to take preventative measure to ensure that you aren’t over consumed with stress during the trading day.
Make sure you get plenty of sleep, avoid drinking caffeine, and exercise regularly. These steps will ensure that you have the mental stamina you need to survive the trading day. Make sure that stress doesn’t interfere with your trading day. If you can have sufficient mental energy, you won’t be overcome with stress and worry, but you’ll trade in a peak performance mindset.