Trading in the markets is one of the most stressful professions on the planet. Prices are constantly in motion, and you need to be consistently and effectively processing an amount of information that would leave the average person dizzy and reeling. On top of all this you are competing with some of the smartest people in the world who are also trying to capitalize on every single trading opportunity that you find.
These are the top three sources of stress reported by traders.
• Dealing with uncertainty everyday: Most people have a pretty good idea of what the day, week and month will bring. Traders know that everything can change in a matter of hours if not minutes…or even seconds! The markets will quickly overwhelm any trader who gets complacent and is not constantly on their toes.
• Risk of failure: Making the right call on a trade is one of the greatest feelings in the world, and the rewards from trading are hard to beat. However, the corollary to this upside are the enormous potential losses from failure. Every decision in trading can have significant negative consequences.
• Unmet expectations: Whether it is workplace targets or the goals that you have set for yourself, the market is not always going to cooperate when you want it to. Riding out the inevitable market lows can really take its toll after a while.
Fortunately there are a few reliable methods of minimizing the inevitable trading stress.
Make Sure to Exercise
Regular exercise helps to ensure that you are always in the prime physical condition for the extreme demands of day trading. Mental performance is heavily influenced by your overall physical well-being, so staying in shape is the best way to remain sharp and focused, and avoid a lot of trading stress in the first place.
Exercise also acts as a great outlet for all that tension and stress that every trader feels as a by-product of the job no matter how prepared and successful they are.
Maintain a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Markets are constantly moving and relevant events are always happening all over the world. However, you need to establish some healthy boundaries to ensure that trading does not come to completely dominate your life. Whether these boundaries involve shutting off your phone for a few hours each day or having special places where you do not discuss work, setting your own healthy boundaries is utterly essential to lasting as a professional trader.
These boundaries are even more important if you trade for yourself from home, as it can be extremely difficult not to be drawn to the computer at all hours of the day. However, this is a recipe for quick and certain burnout, so be sure that you have some very strict boundaries that allow you to separate your trading from your regular home life.
Focus on the Controllable
Trading is a lot like trying to control a boat in turbulent seas. You never quite know where the next big wave or gust of wind is coming from, but you know it is out there. The key to successful trading is knowing what you can control, and admitting that a lot of what happens is out of your hands. By focusing on what you can do, you avoid a lot of the stress of worrying about the uncontrollable and unexpected, and ensure that your energies are always focused on maximizing the benefit from the things that you can actually change.
Make Time for Some Relaxation
It is critical that you make a regular habit of unwinding and defusing from trading. This is more than just exercising or setting work/life boundaries, this is about actually letting your mind and body completely relax so that you can maintain a healthy mental attitude about trading and life.
Some traders take a brief walk in the park or an afternoon meditation session each day, others sit down with a good book every evening, still others have stress-free hobbies where they get to completely escape for a few hours each week. Whatever works best for you, just be sure that you have some regular time where you are completely disconnected and relaxed.