Traders can do themselves a huge favor by regularly engaging in stress reduction efforts. Some of these include regular exercise, good sleep habits, proper nutrition, leading a balanced life with interests outside of trading, stable personal relationships, meditation, biofeedback, and others.
The main idea is to DO SOMETHING (the more the better) to inoculate oneself from extreme stress responses. Reading about it here and elsewhere is a fine start, but the results your looking for won’t come until you actually do something, and commit to it.
This quote comes from Dr. Menaker in his latest post on trading psychology. As a former competitive athlete and professional trader I have learned that I do not have to be who I am today. If I am a stressed out trader today I do not have to be in three months. I love Dr. Menaker’s call above to improve so we minimize stress.
Also notice how important the things you do outside of work impact your trading. I have walked onto the trading floor a few times ready to explode because of my life outside of trading. One annoying move against me and I could be on tilt. It’s your schedule when you leave the office that most determines how trading stress will effect you in the office. You will not will yourself to feel less stress. You cannot just focus harder to rid your mind of it.
I have dealt with extreme stress for many years. At times I have been so tired on a Friday from stress I couldn’t make it past 8PM. I remember sitting in a bar, ready to party with a best friend from out-of-town and having to leave to go crash. Another time I was under so much stress I was going to the bathroom 3 times an hour. I thought I had a medical issue. I went to the Dr., he asked what I did, laughed, and told me it was stress related. It was.
But then I started thinking of the things that made me happy. And I made a conscious effort to do more of those things. Sitting on the couch after work and watching PTI and HardBall relieves stress for me. A work out, some hummus with pine nuts and whole wheat pita, quality time with my wife, some twitter reading, some reading on elite performance, a little writing, thought on training traders, some email work, and a good night’s sleep works well for me.
What do you when you leave the office to ensure that your time at the office is less stressful?
Author, One Good Trade