Best practices to avoid stress when trading

Trading is going to be stressful, you should know that ahead of time if you’re new. If so, you’re lucky because you won’t have to go through what I did. For other traders like me feeling stressed, here are some pages from my book.

Step away from the computer for a while

Obviously, staring at a computer screen all day without a break is not good for your eyes, but that is not what I’m talking about here. Staring at the charts as the markets move all day will cause you to make more mistakes. I know it from first-hand experience, because you start to second-guess yourself. The more you do so, the more you get stressed and before long you become paralyzed and obsess over a single trade for hours, or even close it out too soon. Afterwards, when you see the trade go just as you had anticipated, you’re going to want to smash your computer with a hammer.

Instead, consider every trade you make carefully and just step away from your computer. It’s best if you can find another activity to do in the meantime; not only will it help your trades, but it will also relieve the stress you have. Therefore, it’s best you find something you enjoy. For me, I take a nap whenever I can or walk around the neighbourhood, and trust me, even the professionals take a break.

Sleep

It’s a 24-hour business, I know, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay up at odd hours of the night. In fact, just because you sleep little does not mean you become more profitable. The markets are very inactive during some trading sessions, so it’s better to plan ahead rather than stay up all night. Furthermore, sleeping has a naturally calming effect on the mind, sort of like a natural stress relief. You might have a problem, though, if night time in your time zone coincides with an active trading session, but you still need to make time for sleeping. Otherwise, you can use pending orders so the trade goes on even as you sleep.

Take every loss as a lesson

Loss is disheartening, heart breaking, gut wrenching, demoralizing – basically all the feelings of defeat that make you want to cry or drink a bottle of whiskey. The problem is that if you do any of those things, you only make it worse and fearful to make another trade. What you need is to change your perspective. Some philosopher once said that the problem is your attitude toward a problem rather than the problem itself – or something. That is exactly what you need to do if you want to avoid stress in your trading.

Here’s how I look at it – I never went to business or economics school, I’m a self-taught forex trader. Every time I make a loss, I choose to look at it as the price of education, likening it to tuition fees. You can choose to rationalize it however you want, but don’t let a loss make you feel defeated.

However, I don’t just want to make you feel happy, and you should also take the lesson to heart. Preferably, you should have a notebook for all your trading activities, which you can then use afterwards to look at what you did wrong. As long as you’re not repeating the same mistakes, you will always feel like you’re growing and developing, which will make you feel less stressed.

Try to make light of the trading activity

I understand that this is money, and it’s very serious, more so if you’re depending on your profits to pay the bills. I don’t mean that you should be cavalier or have a ‘don’t care’ attitude, but to look at the trading game as a fun and interesting activity. Remember the famous quote, ‘do what you love and you won’t have to work one day’? If you can make trading fun, then you will be less stressed.

This may mean having your favourite snacks around, making jokes on online forums or dressing casually. Just do whatever you have to that takes a bit of stress from the job. After all, one of the reasons we love forex trading is that we can do it comfortably at home. Besides, have you noticed how companies like Google are taking a more casual approach to dress code yet it doesn’t impact productivity. They have recognized the importance of being relaxed, which may even boost your profits in the end.

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