In his book, ‘Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom’, the renowned American psychologist Dr Van Tharp discusses in several parts how important your psychology or mindset is to your trading success. He graphically depicts the significance of your psychology using a pie chart and explaining that it is the most essential ingredient to trading.
To many who have traded for an extended period of time, they would agree with the fact that traders can experience a wide range of emotions and often one straight after another. Traders can experience the exultation of a winning trade that went very well to the despair of the string of losses where ‘giving up trading’ is a prominent thought in one’s mind.
Books like ‘Market Wizards’ by Jack Schwager and other similar texts illustrate how successful traders have found a trading methodology that they are very comfortable with. None of them have found any magic solution to trading but they all clearly possess an inner confidence in their own ability to follow rules and their own trading plan.
Undoubtedly however, trading can be a taxing experience on your mental health. You are constantly faced with decisions that need to be made and can easily go through the swing of emotions described earlier. For some people, in all honesty you may also lack confidence in your own ability to trade well or lack courage of your own conviction and therefore experience another array of emotions when trading.
Sometimes trading can be quite stressful and other times it may appear as if you can do no wrong. These emotional swings and emotional stresses do impact on your mental state and can ultimately affect your trading decisions.
It may be prudent sometimes to schedule a break from trading. Therefore, close all positions before your break, or a few weeks out from the break commencing, open no new positions and allow your open positions to take their course in the time leading up to your break. The time you schedule your break may coincide with the school holidays or your Christmas break from work. This may end up being the best trading decision you make as you are able to separate yourself from some of the emotions you have experienced, and recharge the mental batteries. The requirement for a break will obviously significantly vary from trader to trader and will depend largely on your trading frequency.
One of the things stopping people thinking about taking a break is that they may miss out on some good trading opportunities. Rest assured that the market you trade is a vital part of the corporate world and will always be open for trading. This means that when you finish your two week break for example, the market will be open as if you didn’t even have your break.
Next time you open your diary, consider scheduling a break from trading.