need help - tension

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by dozu888, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. dozu888


    After years of on/off intraday trading, I think I finally got the basic technique down. In other words, I now have an EDGE.

    The problem is, I always feel this tension before / during a trade is put on... now I have read all the Douglas / Steenbarger stuff (by the way, Steenbarger is way better than Douglas), and I fully understand it's all about tossing a weighted coin many many times. And the size I am trading really has no impact on my personal finance.

    But for some reason, I just can't feel relaxed thru a trading session. Even though the EDGE allows me to have a high win/loss rate, I usually feel exhausted after a trading session and aroused emotionally, so much so that the muscle tension lasts long after the trading hours are over.

    Maybe I am just too much an intense person, maybe I am too much a perfectionist. I am very competitive, and have a successful career besides trading... but this is frustrating the hell out of me.. If I don't solve this problem, I know I will never be able to have a lasting career in trading.

    At this point I don't know how to approach this problem. Help, anybody?
  2. western


    1. stop drinking caffine
    2. exercise regularly to blow off steam
    3. keep a daily journal to log your trades and emotions
  3. mokwit


    4) Regular afternoon delights with raven haired beauties (this is why markets in more civilsed countries have a 2 hour "lunch" break).
  4. sounds like u havent hit very many drawdown periods, after a few times of slow and steady profits and then 1 or 2 huge drawdown days, youll pretty much stop giving a fuck and ull start trading with some calmness. other then that, i suggest cardio exercise before trading, but really, it just takes time.
  5. The absolute truth is that you need more screen time / live trading time - period.

    Like about 1000 more hours.
  6. Bushido


    First off, I do agree Brett is better, while I haven't been able to read more than a few pages for either I definitely read much more of his. I do follow his blog, and he comes up with some great stuff.

    As for you, there could be n number of reasons that could make you stress yourself out psychologically, what you need to actually understand and note down is your thought process before and during a trade. What is the course of your self-talk? are you second guessing yourself? Is there something that is distracting you? Are you worried about getting in or out too early?

    While I do understand that you believe you have found the edge, but maybe you need to still come to terms within that you have? Maybe your innate instincts on a sub-conscious level wants more reassurance than that, or perhaps your competitive nature is conflicting at this? I would suggest reading an article written by Brett and seeing if this makes any sense

    Also, perhaps its not psychological but the environment you trade in, I personally often get bothered by something it maybe to quite or loud or I just need to drown out other constant thoughts, in cases like this I rely on bob marley or floyd on a headset not on the speakers, that works for me you may have something else that creates an atmosphere that can help your analysis to work like a motor skill while emulating a sense of detachment from your thoughts and other distractions.

    As someone suggested write a journal, for you maybe only to understand and record your thoughts. You can try taking a breather for a couple of minutes in-between trades if you get agitated and write what happened, most probably you will not even need it after a few days or weeks. It helps making sense of vague thought, transferring 'em to your long term memory and closing the case for good.

    Most of what I have listed here will not need you to take any external help (including ET.. Maybe even especially ET for obvious reasons), and if you ever do want to talk or be heard by an unknown 3rd person, drop me a line via PM and I maybe able to help you out and set you in the right direction.

  7. bbqbbq


    as strange as it sounds, when your almost blowing up your account, you will feel less tense.
  8. rickf


    Not sure if this helps any but even though I'm a very conservative trader, in the past week I was VERY VERY hesitant to enter ES futures trades because I felt the tape was too fast or goofy or whipsawwy. You know .... you enter a position, ice flows through your veins, gut churns up, and you hope/pray to see the price move your way and then panic when it doesn't right away. I did NOT like that feeling at all and it's something I'd not felt since I first traded futs live last year. So I sat on my hands for a while. Frankly, the markets this week scared me.

    But, I also remembered that I would not feel that same way paper-trading that I do trading live, so I *stayed* live and reduced my regular contract size a bit, but vowed that I needed to experience the psychological stuff "for real" if I was ever going to become a successful trader. As a former pilot, you have to learn to fly in all kinds of weather, not just the clear sunny days.

    So I watched and waited ... saw some setups work, saw some that didn't. But I just watched. Finally, when I saw a few enticing setups on Thurs and Friday, I entered -- and once the trade moved 1.5-2 points in my favor, even though I have a 'catastrophic' 5 point stop on all entries anyway, I had the bright idea to *immediately* place my 'tactical' stop @ B/E + 1 tick.

    I found it amazing how once that "tactical" be/+1 stop was placed (as opposed to just my catastrophic "oh-crap-my-chart-froze" stop) and the risk was greatly reduced on the trade as a result, how quickly my head cleared and how I became very, very calm and could manage my positions more clearly and move the stop as needed. I took that as a learning experience and added it to my "lessons learned."

    As a result, even if I got stopped out a few times (which I did) I was able to wait, re-evaluate, and possibly re-enter ... with the result of finally getting the move I was looking for and eeking out some nice gains on some nice trends, or by being stopped out for a tick profit on a massive reversal. Win-win either way.

    I also am learning how to give a trade "time to develop" -- ie, if you're entered long, don't suddenly panic if a red candle starts to form or even move against you for a tiny bit ... if it doesn't recover soon or if I'm not yet stopped out, I get out, take the hit, manage the risk, and re-evaluate. I really think this patience is one of the hardest things for a new or new-ish trader to learn. (I'm still learning, duh!)

    Just some humble thoughts from someone who did a hell of a lot of learning this past week and feels better about his trading style as a result.
  9. zdreg


    #10     Oct 11, 2008