The Sympathetic Hurdle

Your nervous system is going to work against you as a trader.

As a part of our physical makeup, we all have what is called the autonomic nervous system, which regulates our subconscious biological functions such as heartbeat, digestive processes, perspiration, vision etc. Within the autonomic nervous system are the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. The sympathetic branch is what we would rely upon if we are angered or afraid. It is what increases our heartbeat and adrenalin flow during times of stress, making us literally “jumpy”. This physical change is also what we call the “fight or flight” response, which while useful 10,000 years ago when we lived in caves, can make for a very tough learning environment to be constantly immersed in.

The excitement of making seemingly easy money, followed, sometimes just seconds later, by fear of loss and failure will break most people down quickly. The emotional ups and downs we create in our minds, followed by the physical changes to our blood pressure and adrenal glands, etc makes for a very tough environment to first learn, and then retain knowledge in.

The automatic “fight or flight” response hard wired into your head will work against you as a trader. There will be times when you click that mouse and enter or exit a trade and instantly ask yourself “why did I do that” because you realize you are not following your trading plan. Before you get angry at yourself, realize that you are not the only trader to have ever let emotion override logic. In fact you are programmed to react that way.

The good news is our parasympathic branch has the opposite effect on us in keeping us calm and relaxing us. By studying and learning in a comfortable, relaxed setting we increase our ability to learn and retain knowledge. You will see that as we roll out our learning products over the coming year that we will emphasis this point, and along with providing educational material on trading, we will steer you in the right direction in providing information and directions for helping you to temper your own emotions so that you can concentrate and focus on making the right trading decisions based on what the market is telling you, and not on your own emotions are pushing you into.

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About Jay Norris

Jay Norris is Director of Education at Trading University, has over 30 years of trading experience, and is the best selling author of "Mastering The Currency Market", McGraw-Hill, 2009, and "Mastering Trade Selection and Management", McGraw-Hill, 2011. He has also been published multiple times in Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities magazine.

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