Thinking Straight: Deal with negative trading thoughts

Although the trading experts will always tell you that you need to put your emotions aside when trading, that is far easier said than done, and it’s especially hard if you’re just starting out. Ignoring your emotions because they have no real place in your trading strategy is something that will be important to learn and it will come with time and experience, but at the start how can you fail to become excited when you win a few trades in a row? How can you not become disheartened when you always seem to be losing?

So because we understand that new traders (and even some more experienced ones, come to that) have troubles setting their emotions to one side  regarding their trading, we want to explain how you can deal with your negative trading thoughts in the meantime, so that they don’t affect your trading too much.

Be Self-Aware

The first thing to think about when you are trying to master your emotional response to your trading, or at least deal with your negative trading thoughts, is to be more self-aware. This applies to both trading stocks and forex.  You can do this by sitting still with no distractions around you and closing your eyes. Once you’re in this position and calm and peaceful, think about your trading.

What are the first things that come to mind? What do you think of first? Are the thoughts positive or negative? Do your emotions change when trading is at the forefront of your mind?

You can also start to think more generally too. What are your emotions like in day to day life? Are you mainly happy or sad?

Knowing this information may not seem too important, but it can help you to determine your trading strategy.

Use Your Self-Awareness

As mentioned above, your self-awareness regarding your emotions in trading and further afield are important, but why is this? When you know exactly how you are feeling, you can determine what is helping you and what is holding you back. If you’re constantly thinking about losing because that’s what seems to be happening, then you are going to be having plenty of negative thoughts revolving around trading in general. This is going to ruin the enjoyment factor for you.

If you are generally unhappy about something in your life other than trading, this can also affect how you trade because you are not looking for the opportunities that are presented to you.

When you are in a negative frame of mind, you will more likely see problems and obstacles, whereas when you are happy you will see a clearer path, or the problems will be easier to overcome. This is why being positive in trading is important; it’s not a magic bullet, but it will help you to understand your strategy and see exactly which trades are going to work well for you.

Don’t Think About The Past

One important point when it comes to dealing with negative thoughts about trading is not to dwell on past losses and mistakes. Yes, they happened and they may well happen again (no one trades perfectly one hundred percent of the time), but the important thing is that you will have learned from them and then moved on.

There really is no point in wondering what would have happened if you had done this or that differently; the past isn’t going to change and you can’t undo what you have already done. The only thing that worrying about these things is going to do is make your current trading position a harder one.

Be Factual

Here we start talking about removing emotion from your thoughts. We know this is difficult, but if you are able to do it, at least in part, you will be a better trader for it. Make sure your thoughts about trading are practical ones, not ones that cause you to feel sadness (or happiness, come to that). They need to be facts and figures; you did x and y and z happened. Adding emotion and feelings into this equation is going to complicate things in a way that will cloud your thinking and make you nervous about moving forward even when the perfect trade is right there in front of you.


When trading, your emotions are not going to help you, and are actually going to cause more problems and more negative thoughts. You must remain as factual as possible, learn from mistakes but don’t keep thinking about them, and use your trading charts and strategy in the way they were designed to be used. If you can do all of this, you will become much more successful at trading, and the temptation to have negative thoughts will be much less.

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