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Physical health and trading performance

Trading is often seen as a purely mental game, I beg to differ. Although your mental state is key to your decision-making, the physical state of your body determines how well you are operating mentally.

Trading the financial markets is a job that requires a great mental effort throughout the day. Mental health is prioritized over physical health from a logical standpoint, but the physical aspect should be cared for equally. I personally believe that if you are capable, the mental and physical should be treated equally to achieve maximum trading performance.

For this lesson I would like to talk about 3 aspects of your physical health that you can control in order to increase your overall well-being and performance:

1. Sleep

2. Diët

3. Exercise

Sleep is such an important part of your physical health that is often overlooked. A good night’s sleep has a massive impact on your ability to focus and your state of mind. I would suggest always aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep and going to bed at roughly the same time every night. Condition yourself to wake up at a fixed hour every (week)day and adjust your bedtime to that to get those 7-8 hours in. Do this consistently and you will notice a difference in your mental state throughout your day

What you consume directly affects how you will feel. Drinking Red Bull all day to “keep yourself sharp” will only have an inverse effect on your focus and performance due to the insane amounts of sugars and caffeïne. During your workday, reduce the amounts of sugars and carbohydrates you consume in order to stay focused. In general, your body requires a lot of energy to process heavy meals and this takes away from your focus directly. Shift to light meals with proteïn, fruits, and veggies during the day to keep your mind sharp.

To me, physical exercise is critical to keeping the mind in the right place. If you feel stressed after a rough day, engaging in physical exercise can restore your dopamine levels in a positive way. Also, if you work out in the morning you will be less prone to emotional interference and have a higher level of focus throughout the day.

These 3 aspects are intertwined and all affect each other. Make a simple routine for yourself where in which you take care of these elements, the positive effects on your mental well-being and performance will astonish you!

Speak to you soon! Kind regards, Joost

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