Friday, March 3, 2017

Beat Stress Before It Beats You

Adopting the right attitude 
can convert a negative
into a positive one. 
Hans Selye
Did news items ruin your plans this week? Adverse events, such as foul weather (think Oil, Agriculture, Shopping patterns), is just one of the many sources of stress an active trader must contend with. If you're not careful, you can become easily overwhelmed. When you are "stressed out", you may not be able to think clearly, you won't read the markets objectively. You must do whatever you can to stay calm while trading.

Scientists have shown that stressful emotions can build up, and if not released, a person can become overloaded by stress. Laboratory animals placed in

stressful situations, for example, die if the stressful events are continuous and
enduring. You can't completely remove stress from your environment, but you can prevent the stressful aspects of trading from making you feel anxious and fearful. Here is a short plan to help you develop an effective stress reduction plan:
  • Avoid caffeine.
    Many people believe caffeine keeps them alert. The downside of caffeine however, is that caffeine will elevate your nervous system to the point that you feel on edge and ready to panic? Trading and life is stressful enough; you don't need to pre-elevate your nervous system.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Many successful traders view exercise as a key component to creating a calm and relaxed mindset. You don’t need to go to a gym, take a brisk walk around the block; it will clear your mind and give you new and fresh perspectives. We must all regularly release tension that builds up each day.
  • Minimize background stress.
  • Daily hassles, such as minor arguments with your spouse or others, or traffic congestion can, when added together, be as stressful as a major life event (such as the death of a loved one). Don’t ignore these events; don’t pretend they aren’t important enough to deal with now. Deal with the hassles and then minimize them as well as you can. Seemingly minor hassles can accrue and cause you great strain in the long run.
  • Don’t attempt to exceed your trading skills.
  • Do not put extra pressure on yourself by trying to achieve trading goals that are beyond your current skill level. As an example, keep your position sizes relatively small, consider scaling into a position as opposed to an all or nothing approach and have clearly defined risk limits. If you push yourself beyond your skill set in an attempt to achieve an unrealistic goal, you will feel an extreme sense of anxiety and fear. Take your time, you will get there!

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