Is the Stress of Trading Killing You?

07/31/2014 6:00 am EST


Tom Alexander of offers tips to avoid letting stress and anxiety overwhelm you and shorten your life as a trader, or even—possibly—your life in general.

Most people are attracted to trading so they can take more direct control over their financial futures. Many of these people are attempting to escape the current stress of their present occupations and generally improve their lifestyle. Unfortunately, the vast majority of new traders jump from the frying pan into the fire. Based on the ever increasing number of “Trading Psychologists,” one could conclude that trading is the most anxiety-filled profession on planet earth. And you know what? It is…at least as practiced by most traders.

According to many articles, stress, and, in particular, the hormone that is triggered by stress—cortisol—“is public health enemy number one.”

The stress hormone, cortisol, is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease…the list goes on and on.

Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also increase the risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy. This week, two separate studies were published in Science linking elevated cortisol levels as a potential trigger for mental illness and decreased resilience—especially in adolescence.

The good news is that trading does not have to be this way. Trading should not be this way. If one is trading to improve their lifestyle, why choose to engage in something that can have such a negative effect on—not only the quality of that life—but the quantity of life one may live?

Instead of attempting to “control” an obviously stressful endeavor, why not simply change the endeavor? What is the most stressful way to trade? By far the most stressful way to trade is to daytrade.

Take the Stress Out

Having a specific, well-defined trading plan and trading opportunistically can significantly lower the stress involved in daytrading.

By Tom Alexander of

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