Controlling Stress

Stress is an everyday occurrence for many of us traders and investors, whether it’s the never ending pile of work, trading, family issues or social situations. However, we shouldn’t let it swallow us up and although it’s easier said than done, we should take a step back and unwind.

Stress can make you ill, it can lead to irrationality in your trading decisions and provoke you in situations you would normally stay calm. We all wants happiness and contentment, so here’s a quick guide on how to kick back and alleviate some of that stress.

Obviously stress doesn’t do our trading any good and you would do good to avoid getting stressed whenever possible. In this respect having a mechanical system helps as will your acceptance of the inevitable losses. If your trading system is any good, your losses should be few and small while your gains will be big and more frequent. When you have such a trading system in place, you don’t even look at the money but just focus on the trades. The money will then follow. If you let yourself to focus on the money, emotions will start creeping in and they will influence your trading decisions. When this happens you are doomed to failure.

  • Cut down your work

Many of us already work more hours than we should and it’s easy enough to say that we need to cut back. With the pull of family and financial woes, money is often at the core of why many of us overwork ourselves. You have to find a balance between trading and working. It is also worth looking into other jobs in your field, if you are experienced and have acquired skills in a particular field then look for a job that has less hours and better pay. Again, its’ easy to say that these kinds of dream jobs don’t exist, but they do if you get your head out of the sand and look properly!

  • Eat well and be merry

It seems to go hand in hand that the more people work the worse their diet gets, having working lunches to get things finished, missing breakfast and eating fast food are common problems with people that lead busy lifestyles. You don’t have to go on a crazy diet of water and celery, just east 3 square meals a day, get in your 5 a day and make sure to get away from the office when on lunch. The following food should do the trick:

– Lean meat
– Citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, cabbage
– Porridge for breakfast
– Tea
– White fish
– Pulses and grains

  • Get some sleep!

A big contribution to stress is not getting the right amount of sleep, not just too little but also too much. Unfortunately, our body plays mean tricks on us, when you have had too much sleep your body tends to make you feel more tired, making you think you need more sleep, well you don’t! There have been many studies over the past 40 years on how much sleep a healthy adult should have and the recommended amount is between 7-9 hours a night. Try it out, instead of staying up until 3 am working, go to bed at a reasonable time, get say 8 hours kip and wake up and have a breakfast of some fruit, yogurt and wholegrain cereal.

  • Recognise you’re stressed

A big factor in beating stress is recognising that you are stressed, arguing to yourself that you’re find will only heighten your stress levels. Sit down on your own in a quiet place and start thinking seriously about why you might be stressed, and more importantly accept that you are. Acceptance is half the battle.

  • Take breaks from your trading!

Likewise taking breaks from spread betting every once in a while is a good idea particularly after a losing patch as it helps your mind stay on top of things – so take two steps back, close your losing positions and look at your trades again after a few days. If can’t get yourself to stop opening new positions, then try trading smaller sizes with less frequency.

  • Unload your worries

Men tend to bottle up their worries and anxieties, which of course adds to that overwhelming stressful feeling. People surrounding you may be none the wiser that you have a million worrying thoughts going through your head. It helps to unload these worries, even if it is just to one friend. Even if they don’t agree, having an outlet is enough.

  • Smile

A very simple tip to finish, smiling releases chemicals in your brain that heighten pleasure and assurance, it makes you feel better inside. So whenever you’re feeling a bit down, find opportunities to smile.