Trading is stressful. There are times when you must make trade after trade in order to get the odds to work in your favour. When market conditions are in line with your methods, it can be pleasing to make win after win, but during less than optimal market conditions, it can be a strain to keep going as you face seemingly endless setbacks. Trading can often consist of cycling through feelings of excitement, frustration, and boredom. Even the most seasoned trader may find it difficult to cope with the emotional ups and downs.
It’s not surprising that many traders burn out eventually. It’s common to hear stories of master traders who were at the top of their game in the 1990s, but are out of the business today. Trading is one of those professions where you have to cultivate a fighting spirit to cope with new challenges and daily hassles that never seem to end. It is stress-provoking, and if you don’t watch out, you may collapse under the strain. But you can take preventative steps. By controlling stress, you can build up your psychological resources, combat stressful events, and maintain lasting success.
It may sound like a cliché, but it is vital to maintain a balance between your work and personal life. Realistically, you may not be able to create a 50/50 split between work and family life, but it is vital that you devote a reasonable amount of time to family life, even if it is only 25% of your time. Trading should not be your whole life. Make efforts to form significant relationships with family and friends. These relationships are important. They not only allow you to feel connected to others but under some circumstances, they can provide much needed emotional support. Accepting help and support from those who care about you, and who also understand the pressures of trading, can help you ease stress.
It is also important to set goals that are in line with your experience and skills. Many novice traders set goals that they can’t possibly achieve. It takes years to master the markets and achieve enduring success. In the meantime, it is important to set goals that you can achieve. Learning goals, such as reading about new trading strategies, are better than performance goals, such as making a 20% return on your investment.
Honing your trading skills over time by taking small concrete steps will not only help you cope with stress but will ensure that you make steady progress toward achieving a high level of trading skill. Don’t overwhelm yourself with goals that are too far-reaching. Keep things in perspective. Your long-term goals are to develop skills that will make you profitable over the long haul. Try to consider stressful situations, and minor setbacks, in a broader context. Avoid blowing events out of proportion. Don’t make a big deal about minor setbacks. Setbacks should be expected. Focus on the long-term perspective: With time and practice, you’ll become a seasoned trader.
Stress can kill, especially in the markets. Winning traders try to execute trades calmly, logically, and effortlessly. They are in tune with the market action. Getting yourself into this ideal mental state requires you to deal with stress. So take care of yourself. Build up your psychological resistance to stress. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings and take active steps to cope. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. By coping with stress, you’ll sharpen your psychological edge and ensure lasting success.