We’ve all had moments where life seems to be getting the best of us, where things appear to be going in the wrong direction. Health, family, money, trading…any one of these can test our confidence and make us doubt what we are doing.
Sometimes the waves of life come faster and harder, like you are struggling just to tread water. Perhaps you are going through one of those times this year with trading (or life).
Below are six tips to help you turn the ship around when trading (or life) is breaking bad.
1. Do Something to Help Someone Else
One snowy winter day around the age of 12 when I was feeling quite down, I was wondering what I could do to shift my state from a negative one, to a constructive one.
I walked outside my house and noticed my neighbor (Mr. McDonald) who was in his early 60’s shoveling the heavy snow which had been falling all day. I’d helped others before, and noticed how I generally felt better after doing so. Thus I grabbed my shovel, walked over to his house, and started helping. 1.5 hours later, the task was done and I wished him a good evening.
Walking home, I noticed something shifted. I felt better, and wasn’t so absorbed in my personal situation.
This is what helping others does – it lifts us out of our self-absorption. It gets us focused on uplifting our energy while having a positive impact on others. Often times, this method alone can help shift your state, so try finding someone who could use your help.
2. Comedy Can Change Your Genes?
In a research experiment by Dr. Hayashi in Japan, he studied diabetic patients for changes in health by having them watch an hour long comedy show (vs. patients that didn’t).
Fascinatingly, the patients watching this program had up-regulated a total of 39 genes, 14 of which directly impacted the natural killing cell activity of the body (thus boosting their immune system to fight the disease).
On top of this, even though the 39 genes had no direct correlation to blood-glucose regulation, patients who watched the comedy showed improved blood-glucose levels (key for fighting diabetes). Simply put, laughter not only helped increase their immune system, but also change their genes (up-regulated them).
Try spending 30 minutes a day watching something you find funny and see if it shifts your mood. My personal favorites are The Daily Show with Jon Stewart & Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
3. Fix Something that Needs Fixing, Clean Something that Needs Cleaning
When I was a kid, I wasn’t a big fan of ‘chores’, and I’m guessing many of you felt the same. Now, I have the opposite view. If I ever feel like some aspect of my life isn’t moving forward, or the way it should, I usually go find a project to work on.
This could be something in my house which needed cleaning (a closet, patio, office…) or something I needed to go fix or buy for the place. By fixing or cleaning something, we accomplish two major things; 1) we move our bodies, which helps increase our energy, and 2) we uplift our environment.
Try cleaning your office (desk, floors, unnecessary objects) and don’t stop till you are done. Then notice how you feel.
Anytime you increase the energy of a space, you create a more conducive environment to work and live in. This the very reason every house, spa and travel magazine shows really clean and well organized places – nobody likes to visit a messy house, but everyone likes coming to a space that is taken care of.
4. Get some Exercise, Do Yoga or Practice Meditation
With thousands of scientific studies validating the benefits of the above to our body and brain, anyone of these can improve your neuro-chemistry, raise your energy, or help you feel more calm and relaxed.
If it’s the first one (exercise), try doing it outside as nature tends to have the best environment for resetting our energy. With the latter two (yoga/meditation) try finding a calm space to practice these.
If you are feeling down after several failed trades, movement is generally more helpful. If you are feeling more agitated, stillness is preferred. Simply feel what is most relative to your case, and apply the remedy. More than likely you’ll notice a difference, even if it’s for a short moment.
5. Be An Optimist vs. a Pessimist
Yep – attitude affects our health and performance. The Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Yale (and others) have conducted experiments across decades studying thousands of people who were considered optimists or pessimists.
The results: optimists were more energetic, happier and peaceful. They lived 7-11 years longer on average, had lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and a healthier body weight.
Contrast this to the pessimists who not only lived less (on average), but had a 5x greater chance of getting coronary heart disease.
The lesson being: if you want to have a greater chance of turning your trading challenges (and life) around? Be an optimist. This will help you keep the right perspective when trading.
6. Keep Moving Forward
Whether it is learning how to trade forex successfully, martial arts, archery or sports, you will experience periods where it feels like there is no growth. These can run for long periods of time, and may seem like you are going nowhere.
The problem is, you cannot really predict when your growth will increase. Sometimes your learning process will just consolidate for weeks, months, maybe years, and then all of a sudden – you experience that spike in growth.
These spikes are often not tied to one event, but many, so we cannot try pinning our success on taking one specific action. We have to do as many things right as possible for longer than we think, or you may miss that huge leap in growth.
Just keep moving forward towards your goal of becoming a profitable trader. More than likely, with enough effort – you’ll jar something loose which allows you to take that next step.