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Trading performance psychology and self-talk

Given the stock market performance these days, Brett Steenbarger offers timely tips and resources for traders on managing stress and self-confidence: Updated Psychology of Trading Resources, including a list of relevant blogs such as Afraid to Trade blog, Trader Psychology blog, the Head Coach blog, his Stock Market Psychology blog and Smart Trader blog.

He also offers very good advice to build self-confidence, which can be useful to us all, no matter our profession: When Traders Lose Confidence – Part Two: Changing Your Self-Talk .

  • “The key to changing the self-talk is to become aware of when you’re doing it. Most often, the negative talk is automatic. Journals are effective because they force us to reflect on our thinking and interrupt those automatic patterns. Similarly, I’ve had great results working with traders who talk their thoughts out loud into a tape recorder and then play them back. It’s an excellent way to become aware of your thinking, stand apart from it, and break the flow.”
  • “Yet another strategy is to go through guided visualizations of challenging market scenarios while you’re calm and focused (before trading starts) and then mentally rehearse the self-talk you’d like to engage in during those situations. This helps to build new, positive patterns of self-talk.
  • “The key to all these strategies is repetition: you’re training yourself to process information in new ways, and such training requires practice.”

You may enjoy our interview with Brett N. Steenbarger on Enhancing Trader Performance. And learn more on other techniques at Best practice for top trading performance: biofeedback and solutions for Traders.

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5 Responses

  1. Robyn says:

    Hi Alvaro, you’ve listed some great strategies for traders to change their self talk. And the trick is to catch yourself at it!

  2. Alvaro says:

    Hi Robyn, yes, like any new habit, this requires practice…maybe keeping a journal, or having a friend/ colleague ask us at random times, “what are you thinking now?”

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