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What techniques do you use to get into the right mindset before trading?

When I only started trading, I wondered why so many people were obsessed with trading psychology. I was convinced that I needed to focus on my technical analysis and the trading itself and that I could still handle whichever emotions I felt during my trading journey.

After several years of ups and downs, I can see what all the fuss was about. Emotions get in your way, whether you want it or not. Sometimes, you are aware of the fear, stress, and greed. In other moments, you realize the impact of emotions only after the trade is over.

Here's what I noticed:

  • The worst trades I've ever made were during the moments of FOMO (fear of missing out) when I picked up my phone to look at something, saw the rush in the market, and made a hasty decision to enter a trade not justified by any analysis.
  • The situation when I traded without proper preparation wasn't a one-timer. Even though I had bad episodes, I kept repeating them until I realized I needed to start being mindful about trading and prepare myself psychologically.

Because of this emotional part of trading, the right mindset is essential. I've developed guidelines for achieving the mental state of productivity and concentration. These tips worked for many of my fellow traders.

Step 1. Plan your time

Start by finding a time slot for trading in your schedule. If urgent tasks or events have arrived when you're about to start the trading session, you may need to reconsider and choose another time. It's not good when something's affecting your mood or distracting you. Don't regret the trades you could have made - there will always be trading opportunities.

Step 2. Exercise to blow off steam

Engaging in physical activities can enhance the production of endorphins, the brain's natural mood elevators. If you exercise before trading, you blow off steam and get the injection of a positive attitude. It's recommended to work out before important events, such as public speeches, but we can also adapt this practice to trading. Even if you're not a sports fan, try to find at least a couple of exercises you can do. A couple of stretches and squats will also do.

Step 3. Have a warming-up period

Plan your session so that you have 20-30 minutes to dive in, i.e., browse through the news, observe the charts, and see what's happening in your trading community. Another great thing to do is to remember your previous trading session - what went well, what went wrong, what approaches you used. If you are keeping a trading journal, it will be effortless for you. In addition, you can go through the trading history on your platform. Olymp Trade, for example, allows you to see your success rate and most profitable assets and conditions.

Analyzing trades at the start of the session is the best option because, at the day's end, you may feel too tired or, on the contrary, exhilarated and lack the motivation to learn from your experience patiently.

Step 4. Make self-checks

You may come across the recommendations for meditating before or during trading sessions. If you already practice meditation, you can certainly do so. However, if meditating is not your thing, I wonder if trying will be productive. My alternative is to make it a habit to stop after every 1/5/10 trades (depending on your trading style and preference) and speak with yourself. Sounds funny, but if you pause and ask yourself, "Hey, how are you feeling? How's your trading?" it can be a game changer that saves you from spiraling into semi-conscious actions and emotional trading.

Step 5. Add some ambiance

I had been trading in absolute silence for a very long time. Then, with great surprise, I discovered that having some light music in the background during a trading session makes me much happier. Another idea that may bring the required mood is having a motivational quote nearby. Pick a thought that helps you to be optimistic and mindful. It may be something said by a famous person or your friend. You can print it out or set it as a digital wallpaper. You choose. The key is that these small steps mean you're indeed working with your mindset. That's why they should pay off.

You will probably need to combine your mental preparation with preparing your physical spot for trading. Whether at home or some other place, make sure that you have enough room, that the space is clean and there aren't many people around, and that sitting on your chair is comfortable. If you are in a tiny area or can't straighten your back, you must spend extra energy and mental strength on tolerating these issues. It means you will only be able to devote yourself to trading partially. You may have a very simple environment, but you must be comfortable. And have enough drinking water!

I want to end this by saying that there are so many things about trading and financial markets that we can't control. That gives us only more reasons to use the things that can contribute to our success and that we can manage. The mindset for trading is one of those things.

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