It is important to recognize when you are being affected by stress…The most common and easiest way to spot stress is through its natural effect on the body, where one begins to hold emotional stress in their muscles, especially around the muscles of the neck and shoulders. The stress begins as a as a tension headache that starts in the back of your neck and moves up and down your back. What actually causes the pain? Well, normally, blood flows through the muscles of your neck and back with very little resistance. However, when you are emotionally stressed, certain muscles may tense up and squeeze these blood vessels. Like a garden hose with a kink in it, the flow of blood can get constricted or even cut off by these tense muscles. When your neck and back are not getting their proper blood supply, they let you know it with pain.
Alleviate Stress in Trading
There are many techniques one can use to alleviate stress but I would suggest the aforementioned strategy ‘know thyself’, because each person has a different threshold for stress. Therefore stress affects each person differently and each person can identify it in different ways. For instance, in the book the Intuitive Trader by Robert Koppel, one of the traders interviewed described having a tingling feeling on his back when he is in a bad trading position. In my case, every time I am in a trading position that I should have not entered, I usually can’t sleep and it’s very hard to get this particular trade out of my mind (it usually turns out to be a loss). However, the successful trades are just an after-thought that I seldom think about until I hit my target.
Then there are other techniques one can use, which is simply reducing the amount of trades you make a day or reduce the size of your trades that may cause stress.
Stress can be relieved through exercise. Aerobic exercise is a particularly effective form of exercise for relieving stress - aerobic exercise decreases stress hormones and increases the body's production of endorphins - naturally occurring chemicals that relieve pain and improve mood. Stretching exercises also can relieve stress and loosen tight muscles. Yoga incorporates poses that increase strength and flexibility with breathing techniques to relieve stress.
Relaxation techniques invoke the "relaxation response." Muscles relax and blood pressure, heartbeat, and respiration decrease. This is the opposite of the "stress response" where muscles tense and blood pressure, heartbeat, and respiration increase.
Having the proper Ergonomic trading desk and chair can also help. Tense back muscles increase back pain and pain increases tensing of muscles - a vicious cycle of stress and back pain can be created. So the right ergonomic chair can also help relieve stress while trading.
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