Those of us who are dialed into the markets on a daily basis may have an upper hand in appreciating just how quickly things can change. Sometimes for the good, sometimes not. Despite having this understanding of the markets, many of us are feeling stressed during this crisis and time of uncertainty.
Currently, many aspects of our lives feel like a slow-moving existential “dream” where we’re heading toward a cliff. But hang on. We’ll turn around and ascend this cliff and come out on top if we can just keep our stress levels normal. But how can we do that?
Here are a few ways we can help manage our stress during this volatile market environment:
Acceptance of Your Feelings
The first step is to accept that you are feeling this way (stressed, frustrated, scared, etc.). You can’t talk yourself out of feelings, you can only repress them, which will make them worse and most likely show up again, stronger and more damaging.
Next, remind yourself that these feelings are a totally rational response to this kind of chaos. You are not alone no matter your level of experience as a trader. I’ve been investing for 30 years and trading for 12 and I too have felt the full spectrum of emotions recently. But I’m taking my own health advice, and, along with Mike’s technical expertise, I’ve been able to weather this storm.
Something I tend to do, even during normal times, when I’m joking with friends is to say, “I’m going to lose it or I’m going crazy?” Now is not the time to joke with yourself. I’m all for lightening the mood with humor but I’m talking about self-talk here. Your self-talk is always important but more so now. You will only undermine your confidence, trust and self-respect. If there was ever a time you needed to trust yourself (i.e. who needs you to be on your A-game) that time is NOW.
Put Things in Perspective
Something else that is powerful is to put things in perspective. Times like this we want to be in total control. Well, it’s not possible. We need to make sure we’re pulling our weight but also have a plan that those we’re with are doing their share as well. In other words … have a plan! There is nothing worse than trying to trade when you feel like things around you are spinning out of control and you don’t have a plan.. We all know what happens next. We try and control the market. We make stupid trades. Revenge trades. How often does that work? If you can break the cycle of trying to always be in control, you will give your stress hormones a rest and you will literally help keep your body (and your mind) stronger and therefore healthier.
Step Away From Your Screen
Something that has been soothing for me is to step away from my screen and simply look around. Something we should all be doing on a daily basis, but I get it … life happens. But now it’s more important than ever to step away from your screen and get out of your head even for 15 minutes. Set your alarm on your phone, and schedule in time for YOU! Enjoy your pets as they are always in the “NOW.” If you don’t have a pet, look around your environment and touch something that feels good. Take a bath/shower, go for a walk, just look out a window and admire nature. Our environment may be the one beneficiary of all this madness. Take a virtual tour of a museum. Take in a virtual concert. Music and Art heal. Read inspiring stories. Paint, draw, start a new project you’ve been putting off. The markets will always be here and having Mike to steer the ship, allows us to know we’re in good hands and the confidence to avoid FOMO.
Small Acts of Kindness
Doing even small acts of kindness for your loved ones, neighbors, even a stranger can be game-changing. I think this is something we need to do at all times but now it’s especially important.
I’m sure you’ve all experienced how a small act of kindness can turn someone’s day around? These acts aren’t totally altruistic. They contribute to our sense of purpose. They remind us of the big picture. Things bigger than our portfolios. I am not diminishing the importance of our work! This is how we provide for ourselves and our loved ones. I believe the more we give, the more the Universe (and often the market) gives back.
Remember Your WHY
Remember “WHY” you want to trade in the first place. Mike wrote an earlier blog post that can help you figure this out for yourself. Check it out here: https://marawealth.com/the-4-walled-prison-of-a-traders-mind-trading-mindset/. Without a WHY, your trading most likely will not give you the motivation to perfect your skills and sustain you through the process. And by managing your stress levels you will be able to think clearly and work toward your goals without letting stress or your emotions dictate the course of your next steps.
There’s a lot more to say on this subject so if you’d like to dive deeper, or if you need additional help managing your stress levels during this tumultuous time, be sure to reach out to me via email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message in the comments below. Stay well and be safe!
Beth Marconi is an experienced corporate consultant, personal lifestyle coach and member of the MARA team. As a Certified Nutritional Consultant, she ties health and wellness to trading successfully in the market.