Have you ever had one of those days? Your charting software didn’t work just right, your Internet connection was doggedly slow, and you forgot to read up on this week’s latest economic report releases (go and check out our Forex Economic Calendar, why don’t cha!), so you missed all the good opportunities. And the kids or pets running around the house didn’t help either!
All of these events are just a select few sources of stress that the active retail trader has to deal with. Not dealing with these episodes correctly, and letting them build upon each other, can make you feel overwhelmed. When you’re thinking with a stressed mind and body, your mind isn’t focused, and this can mean danger for your trading. It’s utterly important that your head is clear and you are cool and composed while trading.
Prolonged stress can be detrimental to not only your trading, but to your health in general. Knowing that stress can have such an adverse affect on you, it’s a good idea to find ways to curb your stress all together, or at least reduce it, for the sake of a better trading environment.
In my previous article I mentioned taking a vacation. This is definitely a great way to bring the stress levels down, but it may not always be practical or feasible (for various reasons such as money, time, family, another job, oh, and did I mention money?).
But don’t worry!
There are plenty of other things you can do right now (without having to spend the dough) that are as effective at reducing stress.
Exercise! This is a no-brainer. And don’t think you have to run out and buy a gym membership. Taking a nice brisk walk around the neighborhood during your trading down-time will do the trick. Exercise helps relieve the tension that builds up during your crazy trading sessions and it keeps your body feeling loose and fresh.
Lower caffeine and other stimulant intake. Forget the obsessive purchases at Starbucks or drinking a 2-liter of soda…by yourself… in an hour…sitting in front your computer! Caffeine can be great at times, giving you that boost when you need to stay awake. But it can also make you super hyper and elevate your feelings of panic at just the wrong moment. Trading is stressful enough by itself. Don’t let caffeine add to the mix!
Express yourself. No, not in that way. I mean through communication. The stress you feel is often caused by something other traders are going through as well; we all trade the same markets, right? Hop on a Forex forum to discuss what’s bugging you or what’s not working for you. You’ll find out that just talking about your trading stressors with like minded people can be a big help to reducing their negative effects on you. And you might learn something, too!
Don’t stress yourself by trading outside of your skill level. Set clear risk limits and have realistic goals. When you’re just beginning to trade, you want to keep your positions small. Trading beyond your skills will definitely make you more anxious about your open trades, and will more than likely result in your account balance taking a hit, causing even more stress!
Stress will wear your down mentally and physically if gone unchecked or untreated. Take the time to identify some of the things you currently do that help reduce your stress, or follow some of my suggestions to get you on your way.