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Scheduling Your Worry Time

Scheduling Your Worry Time

Winning traders execute and monitor their trades in a peak performance state. They aren't worried about past mistakes or future profits. All their attention is focused resolutely on the ongoing trade. But it's hard to focus on your ongoing experience when you're worrying about losses, or some other trading problem. It may sound easy to take losses in stride, and avoid letting them interfere with your ongoing experience, but when you are in a severe drawdown, and worried about how you'll get out of it, it's hard to avoid letting it get to you. You may become consumed with guilt and anxiety. It's natural. Your future may actually be at stake. But you can't trade at your best when you are worried. Somehow you must train your mind to put the losses out of your awareness. One way to train your mind to temporarily forget about losses is to schedule worry time.

The natural human tendency to worry about problems protects us. If we didn't worry, we might take dangerous risks, and pay a steep price. But worrying can be a problem for successful trading. If you are the kind of person who worries uncontrollably, it may interfere with your ability to pay attention to executing your trading plan. Not only can it distract you when you try to execute a trade, excessive worrying can prevent you from getting a restful sleep at night, or keep you so uptight that you can't relax. Without proper rest and relaxation, you'll find it difficult to mobilize your psychological resources for optimal trading performance.

Worrying becomes a problem when you do it too often and for no good reason. For example, if you've mounted losses and worry about it, you tend to think the same thoughts over and over again. It doesn't help much. You are likely to just let it interfere with your ability to make back the money you've lost. You need to put such thoughts out of your mind while you trade. When you worry too much, you feel out of control. One way to regain control is to schedule worry time. The basic idea is to set aside a certain part of the day, seven o'clock, for example, and only worry for 30 minutes during that time. The goal is to worry only at a specific time for a fixed length of time. When you catch yourself worrying during the day, you can tell yourself to stop [worrying] with the knowledge that you can worry about whatever is bothering you later. Knowing that you can worry during the "worry session" will help you control your worrying.

It may sound a little simplified, but it works for many people who have trouble controlling their worrying. Try it. See if it works. If you're like most people, you'll find that you worry less, and can control it. So don't let worrying interfere with your ability to trade successfully. Worrying seems like a natural response to a setback, but it usually gets you nowhere. Rather than hopelessly worry, it's vital that you take an active problem solving approach. If you can control your worrying by scheduling regular worry sessions, you will be able to recover from a setback fast and return to profitability.
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