Of all the psychological problems that highly competitive traders experience frustration and anger are amongst the most common. Indeed, frustration is a good example of how strengths, if taken to the edge, can become vulnerabilities. When we are too focused on achievement and demand too much from ourselves, having something get in the way leads to frustration naturally. This state of mind triggers a fight or flight mode that causes the brain to become unbalanced in the prefrontal cortex. Instead, the motor areas become activated to cope with the situation and act in a manner that would normally be avoided if one were calm when the trading day starts.
The Cause of Frustration in Trading
Frustration is usually caused by having unfulfilled expectations. When you have a goal and you are not able to reach it, you are naturally wired to try to remove the block. However, sometimes, there is no remedy to the block. This can lead to frustration. Now imagine that you were in a rush to get somewhere and you need to be on time. Suddenly a car cuts you offs and causes you to be stuck in traffic lights. In such a case, you might be tempted to run the red light, which might lead to an accident in the process. You would never consider these actions in normal conditions.
Past Failure, Anger, and Frustration
Frustration and anger are usually responses to the situation during trading. In such a case, frustration can get out of hand. The reason is that this is built up anger and is not just a response to the current situation. For instance, if you experienced certain failures while in school or were blocked in other areas of life, a normal day of bad trades can feel like it is all your past failures coming together. It can cause huge domains of life including work and relationships. If this is the case, it might be important to seek professional assistance.
Reducing Anger and Frustration in Trading
If the frustration shows up only in the context of trading, there are simple techniques that can help to ease the issue. For instance, you can build positive associations and exposure methods. An effective approach is to address the perceived need directly. This need is fuelling your shift from being frustrated to being angry. It is normal to be frustrated from not achieving a goal. However, when you convince yourself you must achieve a goal, you are setting yourself up for overreactions.
An effective method is to learn how to embrace loss and learn from them. Even the top traders in the world experience loss. However, they understand that loss can be used to learn. By spending your energy looking for a solution instead of being broody over it, it will help you become less angry over time due to failed trade. With time, your effort to learn from your mistakes will make you less of a frustrated trader and more of a happy trader who understand that loss is part of life.