Trading is a stressful business. When you are in a trade, your money is at risk, and you repeatedly face the possibility of losing substantial amounts of trading capital. If you are a novice trader, the stress is even greater, since you have not yet learned to trade consistently, and losing significant amounts of trading capital is the norm, not the exception. Managing stress is key to trading success, and maintaining a social support network is an important way of managing this stress.
Psychologists have studied social support critically. When extremely stressed people have a person, or persons, with which to vent their frustrations regarding stressors, they are able to better cope with the stressors. Oftentimes, merely expressing stressful emotions of anger, fear, and frustration can make one feel optimistic, empowered, and ready to tackle new stressors with renewed vigour.
But not just anyone will do as a member of a social support network. Ideally, people in one’s social support network should be good listeners; they should want to hear about your problems, support your feelings, and make you feel you can neutralize your emotions and come up with new ways of coping. Some relationships are uplifting, while others provoke frustration or anxiety, and can be yet another hassle, rather than uplifting.
An interpersonal relationship is uplifting when you gain emotional support, but it’s a hassle when the relationship actually causes stress. This may be especially true of trading since not everyone in a novice trader’s social support network is supportive of trading activities. For example, suppose your spouse is not supportive of your trading plans, and frequently greets you at the end of the trading day with, “How much did you lose today?” or “I wish you would give this up and go back to your regular job.”
Such comments produce even more stress. Similarly, if you have conservative, risk-averse friends, they may not want to hear about your trading activities, or subtly express a sense of scepticism with every word. In these cases, such relationships are unsupportive at best or extreme stressors at worst. Thus, it is vital that you seek out the right kind of social support.
One of the best ways to build a social support network for your trading is to form a set of relationships with others who share your trading interests. Ideally, this should include senior members of the trading profession, or informal mentors, as well as traders at your own level of skill, especially if you are a novice. These individuals will have similar stressors and can help you cope more easily. They also need to form relationships with other traders who, like you, know the pitfalls of the trading field and support your motive to become a seasoned and consistently profitable trader.
Social support is a proven method for neutralizing stress and the unpleasant emotions associated with it. It’s an essential key to trading success, so go out and add a few traders to your social support network; you’ll find the journey to success a lot smoother.