Link: TraderFeed – Trading and the Adrenaline Rush

May 2, 2007: 9:26 PM CST

Dr. Steenbarger recently posted a comment from Dr. Bruce Hong regarding the “Fight or Flight” adrenaline response that we all feel at some point during trading.

I have experienced this many times and likely will do so in the future, and so will almost all traders, especially when situations do not go as expected.

Here are a few quotes that may be eye-opening:

“[The sudden adrenaline rush] is a response that is AUTOMATIC and not under conscious control” (example, if we are physically under attack by a ferocious animal).

Remember, it’s automatic. Now, every one is aware of the obvious physiologic responses that WE CAN FEEL. You report that this is uncomfortable – it’s not. It’s just biology.”

All our thought processes are directed to threat and elimination/avoidance of that threat. So instead of thinking things through carefully, we make abrupt, impulsive decisions.”

So, you can force yourself to wait 5 minutes, do jumping jacks to ‘burn off the adrenalin’, and, most importantly, use visualization BEFORE you enter the trade…. In that way, you don’t perceive a threat, but a contingent event – so you don’t develop a threat response.”

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Link: TraderFeed – Trading and the Adrenaline Rush”

  1. Jack Says:

    One thing that really helped me in trading and in life is to realize that Anger is a form of fear. We get angry at something or someone because we “feel” they are threats. Part of that “doing me harm” so the adrenalin floods and I get angry…..If I get angry now I ask myself…what are you afraid of? Why this reaction…?

  2. Corey Says:

    Exactly. It’s a realization to learn that we aren’t in control of our bodily functions (in terms of stress/stimulus) as much as we like to think that we are, but we can stop ourselves and pull back the big picture and challenge and refocus these responses – especially if we re-frame them and practice doing so each time we experience something we don’t like. It’s a form of cognitive restructuring at work.

    Asking questions helps tremendously to bring the responses into our conscious mind and overcome these physiological responses (which are time-sensitive). It can also help to utilize a stop-watch and write down how much time we are feeling a certain response and then once we establish this and feel the response again, we’ll know how long it is likely to last before returning to ‘normalcy’.

    Great observation!