Bad trades happen. Bad weeks happen. As traders we are in a tough position that our “jobs” have the risk of not only not making money in a given week but losing money. On the worst end of that, revenge trading, spiral trading, increasing risky behavior are all potential outcomes that can take a bad trade, or a bad week, and turn it against us. So, what can we do to separate ourselves from the bad trade? To quarantine the bad behavior and leave the rest of our mind and body healthy?
Have a business plan.
The first thing that we can do is pre-emptive. In Judaism, there is a concept of putting a fence around the Torah. What this means is that if a law states one thing, the Rabbis would put extra laws around the original law to keep you at a safer distance from breaking it. For example, if you are not allowed to write on the Sabbath, the rule would then be you’re not even allowed to pick up a pen. This distances you one extra from possibly writing. In trading, one of the hardest things to do is separate yourself, your ego, your outcome, your day from bad trades. It’s too easy to take it home with you after work. Create a business plan that treats your trading as a job outside yourself, use wording that disengages yourself from the direct outcome of trades. The more you can do to separate your ego from the trade, the more likely you will be able to disengage from the trade afterwards - because there are more trades to be had, and this was just one in a bucketful.
Hobbies outside of trading.
It is very easy to fall in love with charting and learning about trading. It in itself is a hobby. For those that have outside work, sometimes trading is the hobby. However, if you are a full-time trader, and trading is both your passion and your job, it can be harder to disengage when things need a break. Finding something extra you love that you do just for fun and interest, that you can go to when you need to decompress, or to rejuvenate yourself will go a long way towards helping your mental health with trading.
Address mental wellbeing.
Blue light, sleep, sunshine and exercise. A lot of screen time can cause headaches, poor sleep and other health problems. These can then exacerbate bad trading. Make sure you get morning, afternoon and evening sunlight to help address blue light and sleep rhythms. Get plenty of fresh air and exercise to keep your mind and body healthy.
Identify your spiral loop.
We have discussed this before in a longer blog but take the time to revisit your negative spiral loop (the steps that have led you to disaster before) and double check that your emergency kits for each step of the spiral are intact.
Make sure to have someone to talk to that will hold you accountable. Also make sure they are sympathetic, but not overly so. The last thing you want is to come out of a bad trade thinking your behavior wasn’t that bad - since that will lull you into future bad actions. Have someone that will both understand and hold your feet to the fire because they want you to be better and will encourage you to act like the best version of yourself.