How To Relieve The Stress of Trading
This was one of the toughest weeks of trading for K and I in more than a three years. We were totally our of sync with the market, always running one step behind as we were buying risk when everyone was selling it, selling it when everyone was buying it. Usually I would have become apoplectic as the days progressed, throwing office items at my whiteboard, screaming at everyone around me and generally acting like a sullen jerk.
But this week was different. I remained preternaturally calm despite the frustrations that befell us and managed to take my Flow Trade accounts to all time highs as my intra-day trading improved markedly. How was I able to remain so focused and productive? Easy. Instead of going out to dinner every night, I made home cooked gourmet meals for the kids four days in a row.
Currency trading is one of the most obsessive activities you can pursue. With FX markets open 24 hours 5 ½ days per week you can become glued to your screen like a hopped my Vegas junkie playing a marathon session of blackjack. During the week like we’ve just had, when every remark and rumor can send markets into a sudden tailspin or a vertical climb, it is especially easy to lose all sense of perspective as you watch the EUR/USD trade tick by tick.
That’s a big mistake. Not only do you exhaust yourself both mentally and physically but you also become a much worse trader. In trading as with other areas of life, when you truly need to understand a problem its often best to stop trying to solve it and do something else entirely.
Cooking for me can be just as obsessive as trading and I naturally went all out creating five to seven dishes every night including linguine al pesto that trumped any restaurant version in New York (according to my precocious 18 year old foodie daughter who could write her own Zagat guide by now). The act of shopping for ingredients, pre-preparing the food and juggling four burners at once completely took my mind off the markets and more importantly released the stress of the day. I was able to come back the screens with a calm, objective mindset -- the single most important tool of any successful trader. As a result I made better trades.
The FX market can be an unbelievably self contained cocoon. Its easy to begin viewing all of life through the perspective of the 5 minute EUR/USD chart. That’s why it is critical to break out of the bubble for at least a few hours each day. Want to be a better trader? Stop trading and go do something else.