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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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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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