Good Traders Take Care of their Mind and Body

Taken from article posted on July 1, 2011

Singers avoid cold water to take care of their vocal chords. Surgeons moisturize their hands after surgery to prevent dryness. Athletes go on crazy diets and fitness regimens to condition to their bodies. These high-level performers do this so that they can perform their best at what they do.

What do traders have in common with these other high-level performers?

They need their bodies to be at peak conditions.

Why is taking care of your body so important?

Trading requires concentration, focus, and alertness. However, without a sound mind and body, it will be extremely difficult to do any of these things.

Sluggishness and fatigue may prevent you from paying close attention to details. You will be prone to mistakes such as not fully preparing a trading plan, incorrectly calculating your position sizes, or having a “fat finger” moment with your trading platform. An unfit body may also expose you to bouts of laziness, which could affect your efforts in looking for trading opportunities.

Moreover, taking the time and putting in the effort to stay in tip top shape promotes hard work and mental toughness, both of which are necessary if one wants to be a consistently profitable trader.

How can you take care of your mind and body?

Being physically fit doesn’t mean that you have to have Michael Phelps’ abs or Dwayne Johnson’s biceps. Getting fit could be as simple as taking care of your body.

Get enough sleep, eat the right food (sugar-free Krispy Kreme donuts don’t count), and perform an exercise regimen that maintains a good blood circulation and helps keep energy levels elevated. Getting up out of the chair and taking regular walks should do the trick.

Taking care of your mind is also of utmost importance. Enough sleep is an absolute must. So is staying away from illegal substances (duh!) and limiting your alcohol intake. Also, stop filling your brain mindless content (like gossip and reality shows) and make it better with the help of thoughtful activities like reading good books, learning a new language, or even playing an instrument.

Still, being in top physical form is pointless if your mind is occupied with personal problems. Resolve your problems as soon as you can; only hang out with people who uplift you and add value to your life (and vice versa). And get your mind focused on your life goals instead of wasting your time worrying about things that are out of your control.

When you’re in the heat of the (trading) battle, it’s easy to lose yourself in the markets. But remember that trading is a marathon, not a sprint. We have to pace ourselves if we ever want to become consistently profitable traders. Some might not get there anytime soon, but taking care of the body, our most important trading tool, is certainly a step in the right direction.