Healthy Body, Healthy Trading Mind

by : Larry Swing

When traders start out, it's completely overwhelming the amount of things to learn and suck in. The simple to the most complex: the computer, the trading software, the markets, the strategies, indicators, psychology, capital, time. On top of that, traders have to deal with their family and work. Investing is just not about buy, sell and hold but the burden and challenge of dealing with everything and everyone. All this brings major stress that will affect trading.

Trading is a very stressful work but not balancing them can be counter productive. An athlete cannot train continuously 12 hours a day. He needs time away from training to concentrate his mind on other activities in order to stay relaxed. A new trader is so obsessed with trading that sometimes he can go relentlessly day after day with long hours that eventually he burns himself and not knowing it.

Due to the fact that trading involves money, many traders want to make as much money as much as possible and as quickly as possible. This may involve spending as much time as possible to learn and master the skills. He may spend long days for months if not years, weekends included, disregarding family, work, or social life. This can be hazardous to one's physical and mental health. When the other parts of life are left uncared for, eventually the trader will begin suffering by making losses. He may not notice it in the beginning but little by little, the stress from outside of trading will start setting in. Before he knows it, his performance suffers, productivity and profitability reduces. Successful trading requires healthy and balanced mind and body. Has anyone ever seen a drunken successful gambler in Las Vegas?

So what how does one gain and manage healthy mind and body? Many successful and experienced traders have come to realize that trading is a marathon and not a sprint. If it is a sprint, then he can try to make as much as possible thinking he'll move on to something else. Usually this is the option of the new traders thinking in short term as he overtrades with high leverage. This is usually the path to blowing out the account. But experienced traders want to stick around to trade until he retires or until his dying breath. So a marathon requires conservation of energy by keeping a steady pace, one step at a time. Little by little, as he gets more experience, he can step up the pace when he gets accustomed to the stress level.

There are many ways to keep balance in life and trading. Many devote small hours each day to learning the skills without intruding into other areas of life. In addition, he may spend weekends devoting to it when the week days impeded him from dedicating time to it.

In day trading, the trader may meditate, pray, or use other visualization or relaxation techniques to prepare for the full day of relentless stress. This is to erase the mind from other outside factors, pleasant as well as unpleasant. As for physical activity, the trader does exercises such as walking, jogging, weight-lifting, team or individual sports to keep the body fit. Not only will physical exercise maintain healthy body, the mind tends to relax and concentrate on things other than trading. Too much of a good thing can be bad. Most workaholics end up with some kind of stress-related syndrome or illness that leads to early retirement or heart condition as they get older, shortening their life span. Those who pace themselves carry a happier and healthier and more productive life than those who don't.

In trading, with money at stake, this is especially important. Every ounce of emotional and mental condition must be preserved and cared for. If not, the cost can be dear.