Stress has been identified as one of the number one killers of creativity and tact. In fact, it’s one of the determining factors in reducing longevity – period. Trader stress is a real thing and it affects everyone differently. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional broker, avid independent day trader or a trading minimalist whose motivation is to accumulate and hold. The stress of the trade exists and it could affect other aspects of your life.
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That’s what stress is: An equal opportunity pain in the neck that will kill you if you let it.
My advice – Don’t let it.
We’re all wired differently. We cope differently, we have varying levels of tolerance, and, depending on the day, our bullshit meter is as volatile as the crypto markets, am I right?
Trader or no, these are four good recommendations to reduce the stress in your life.
Take A Break
There is no better antidote for stress than taking a break to do something other than the thing you’re doing. If you’re a workaholic or feel chained to your desk, then you might want to schedule AFK time. Seriously. Put it on the daily calendar and set a time to do something other than work.
Some people use their lunch break to take a walk and eat a light lunch afterwards. If you are a day trader and work from a home office, get out of your chair and go outside or hang out on the couch for 30 minutes with a good book.
Naturally, if you’re spot trading, you don’t want to miss buying a sudden dip, but if you don’t give yourself a break you will burn out. You know what happens when you burn out? Bad decisions and a don’t give a crap attitude.
Just that 15 to 30 minute break a day can help relieve the stress you might have. It gives your brain a break and your eyes something different to look at. Seriously just unplug for a little bit and you’ll feel a difference.
Ah, sleep, the elixir of health and well-being. I’m not going to get into all the benefits based on sleep studies, but I do know from personal experience that good sleep helps with healthy mind and body.
Consider how dangerous it is to drive when you’re extremely tired. Have you ever fallen asleep at the wheel and woke up a few miles down the road with no memory of how you got there – and thankful that you didn’t kill yourself or anyone else? I have. When you lack sleep, you lack the ability to function. Do you really want to do that with your money? Think about it.
Our capacity to concentrate and work efficiently increases with a good night’s sleep. And if you’re the type of person that functions on a couple hours of sleep at night and a cat nap in the afternoon, hey, go for it. Whatever works to give yourself that much needed time to rejuvenate.
Remember that old saying, “You are what you eat”? Obviously this is not to be taken literally but, there is a correlation between what you ingest and how it affects your mental and physical performance.
Junk food is not a good replacement for a decent meal or snack. If you are eating a lot of sugary foods, high carb foods, sure you might get a burst of energy, but it’s not the healthy, sustaining kind. Big meals right before you need to work might make you feel slow and lethargic.
There are nutrients that your body requires to function properly so it’s important to fuel yourself with good food and nutritious snacks.
Think about it. Can you concentrate when you’re hungry or tired? Probably not. If you want to give yourself an edge, try developing healthy habits.
For some people, exercise is mainly about losing weight and burning excess fat but there is way more to exercise than doing away with unwanted fat. Exercise helps to clear the mind and refresh the body. You need as much mental energy as you can get to trade successfully.
Now, exercising doesn’t mean that you hit the gym every day. It could be something as simple as walking, skipping, swimming, or even a set of squats or 30-second planks?
The idea is to get your mind off work with the added benefit of working on your core or cardio. It doesn’t require a lot of concentration and the action helps reboot your mind.
Personally, I love going for a brisk one mile walk. The repetition of my steps helps me get into a zone and I tend to work out the frustrations or issues that might be stressing me out.
Basically, what I’m trying to tell you is that healthy trading means you need to be in your right mind. We are all guilty of inviting stress into our lives. Don’t try to deny it. But with that invite of stress must come a counterweight to find balance.
I can’t guarantee that being a healthy trader will make you a successful one, but it’s a step in the right direction. See what I did there? Happy trading!
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