Controlling Your Physiological States… Lose Less. Win More?

Controlling States

In the first instance, aspiring traders always look for fundamental indicators or analysis of the markets.

But is that the most beneficial to be doing?

Emotions often influence the success of a trade, fact. So what are you doing about controlling those emotions?

Size Does Matter…

Sorry people, regardless of what the Mrs tells you – it just does.

One of the biggest things in trading successfully is execution, how you go about business, being efficient in all that you do. If you can’t get that right; you may as well withdraw the balance now.

It’s the deciding factor, the bit that stops a loss from turning into a horrific red screen and allows a profit to multiply in size.

Now, if execution is one of the most important factors in turning a profit. Isn’t it worth looking deeper?

Certainly, as trading guide readers will know. But there’s always going to be one element you have to learn about for yourself.

Emotions: What makes you tick?

Everyone’s a little different, which is what makes learning to trade tricky. You can learn about Betfair graphs, ladder interfaces or backing to lay sure, but knowing what makes you tick in the moment can be tough.

The good news is; you can put a little structure on controlling those states of behaviour.

Ultimately; controlling your physical state is as close to ‘programming your behaviour’ you’re likely get…

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Physiological Triggering:

What is a physiological reaction? Simple. Think of an instance where something happened, and you reacted, to the point where you wasn’t even thinking about it…

Chances are; that was a physiological response. Built-in, part of you.

Of course, not everyone reacts in the same way to a sequence of events. After years of trading, I probably react differently to a profit or loss than you do. Similarly, somebody who bets large stakes on football will probably react differently again to me. The point being; this kind of reactions have a level of power over us that is hard to ‘just over-ride’. A lot of the time, in trading at least, these emotional responses and reactions can be counter-productive.

So how do you change that?

Is there a way to ‘trigger’ or initiate a positive state? One productive to your given situation…

The Haka is a great example of physiological triggering before playing. Not just heritage, as some may think.

So, if trading were Rugby. What would be your ‘Haka’?

Trading Ticks…

Or maybe it’s not even a case of one ‘trigger’. More a case of a few triggers in place to re-set your mindset when negative one may have occurred.

For example:

Problem: reacting badly to a loss.
Negative outcome: the losing trade then puts doubt in the mind of the trader, setting them off on the negative outlook – affecting later results. A very common problem.

While you can’t correct that losing trade or guarantee a better one next time around. You can be aware that it’s likely to have an impact on how you now feel, and take a few seconds out to re-centre and take control of your current physiological state.

Here’s a thought:

First of all, you’re going to want to break the cycle. You can’t carry on doing what you currently are and experience a very different feeling.

So, get up, physically out of your chair! Leave your immediate environment if you have to. Go to another room, make a drink maybe… whatever it takes.

Next, deny that current negative feeling. You have to do this, the easiest way is usually to rationalise it. What happened? Why did it happen? If you did something foolish, admit it to yourself wholeheartedly and then accept it as a learning experience. If you didn’t, then it’s going to be easier anyway. Note – if you’ve not calmed down at this point, keep away from the computer a little longer until you have. Rationalise it fully.

Now for the most important part (like the Haka). Find something that you relate to feeling positive when trading… maybe a song, something that chills you out. Everyone’s going to be different, but something that’s going to leave you feeling neutral and calm at the very least. You won’t want something highly strung as trading isn’t… don’t be doing the Haka!

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6 thoughts on “Controlling Your Physiological States… Lose Less. Win More?

  1. Another good post and many instances of myself doing silly trades coming to mind. On occasions I have gone in play, sometimes I get away with it other times I lose. I sometimes think I should take SP at the off then that in play pressure is alleviated. As you state if it goes wrong get up and have a cuppa. Good advice.

  2. Another top notch article, Caan. Keep them coming I know you get nothing for doing them but they are delightful to consume.

    Warm Regards

  3. I used to react very badly to losses in the pre race market and take it in play to get the loss back but sometimes it would go against me and make the loss much bigger so eventually I had to stop trading the horses but after a while I got interested in tennis mainly cos of the amount of money people make out of trading tennis and therefore started trading tennis starting with small amounts and building up the bank and I no longer suffer from the red mist after a loss because the wins exceed the losses and by trading the same match in the right way you can eradicate the loss or at least reduce it so I no longer have a problem accepting a small loss and enjoy trading tennis much more and am now making decent profits

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