Trading stress is primarily caused by two things: either not knowing what to do, or knowing what to do and not doing it.
Many times, a new trader will discover that there is a big difference between reading about trading or simulated trading, and trading with real money on the line. Stress can knock a trader out of trading faster than anything else. You have to trade like it is a business. Realize that it is highly probable that half of your trades will be losers, and your profits will come from the other half of your trades. You can not control the market, you can only control what you do, your entries, exits, position sizing, and method. Practicing discipline and self control at all times keeps you out of very stressful situations. The key to trading success is about stacking the odds in your favor, and not thrills. This is a business not an amusement park ride, trade accordingly.
- Only risk 1% of total trading capital per trade, with stop losses and proper position sizing. Proper positions sizing eliminates serious emotional impact of any one trade. Each trade is only one of the next one hundred, which gives traders a totally different mental perspective than an all in/have to be right Hail Mary trade.
- Only trade a position size you are comfortable with.
- Trade a method or system you believe in, based on backtesting of a positive expectancy.
- Know where you will get out of a trade before you get in.
- Only trade with a detailed trading plan.
- Believe in your ability to follow your trading plan. You must have faith in yourself to lower your stress level.
- Know yourself as a trader, and only take your kind of trades. Take trades that will leave no regrets because they were good trades, regardless of the outcome.
- Do not listen to any unsolicited advice about the trade you are in. Follow your own plan and shield yourself from distraction.
- Sit out markets that you are uncomfortable trading due to volatility or looming risks. Know when it is time to trade and time to ‘go fishing’.
- Do your homework before you trade. Be confident in your trade until it hits your stop. Get out when your stop is hit.
- Keep your ego out of your trading. Run it like a business, with the profits and losses as your focus, not your ego.
- Only trade when the odds in your favor. It is much less stressful trading this way.
- Do not blame yourself for losses if you followed all your rules. The market giveth and the market taketh away. Just keep taking your entries and exits.
- If you do not know what to do, DO NOTHING.
- To lower stress levels, trade less and get away from watching every single price change. Day traders could trade only the open and closing hour, swing trader and trend traders could just take opening or closing signals. You could go from every tick to just checking in every hour or so if you have options or hard stops in. Most of the days trading is random noise, and randomness will stress. Focus on your time frame, and only the quotes that really matter when they matter.