Have you been having a hard time trading lately? Are you feeling stressed out about it? If so, you may find that a lot of the suggestions you typically receive to help you focus are not doing a whole lot of good. You have been sticking to your trading method as best you can and trying to trade with discipline, but things still are not working out. You keep losing trades anyway, and you feel like your whole decision-making process is a mess.

At times like this, you sometimes need to tackle the emotional issues which are throwing you off track before you start dealing with technical aspects of the situation. Maybe you are making errors with your trading system and how you use your indicators, but you may be unable to resolve those errors in your present psychological state. You simply cannot see clearly when your mind is a muddle of emotional flotsam.

If that is your situation, I recommend that you run through an emotional checklist before you continue. You will need to identify any emotional traumas which may be interfering in your trading, and then figure out whether or not those traumas are at least one cause of your current problems.

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Here is a checklist with some questions you can ask yourself to try and get to the bottom of things:

1. Have you recently experienced a losing streak, or are you in the middle of one now?

This is one of the most common causes of emotional trauma for any trader. Even if you expect some drawdown (and you should) or the occasional losing streak, that is not necessarily going to alleviate all of the psychological trauma that goes with one. And if you did not expect this big a losing streak, you may very well feel paralyzed by your losses. That trauma can cause you to trade poorly, extending the losing streak beyond the point where it normally would have subsided. If you think you may be extending your own losses through emotional trauma, it is time for a break.

2. Have you recently had a large loss in your account?

If you recently increased risk exposure for whatever reason, maybe by doubling up or rolling over, you may have had an abnormally large loss in your binary options account. Even a single loss which is larger than normal can carry an unexpectedly harsh psychological backlash. Just this one incident can overset you emotionally, causing you to make mistakes in the future, leading to more losses.

3. Have you recently had an unrelated financial loss?

Financial losses outside of your trading activities can also impact your emotional state when trading. All of your finances are connected, after all, and losses are losses. If you recently lost money because of a bad financial decision outside trading, you may question the validity of all your financial choices, including the ones you make in your binary options trading account. Watch out for this blow to your confidence.

4. Have you had past losses in trading which may be influencing you now, even though they happened a long time ago?

Sometimes the losses which weigh heavily on our minds are not even recent ones. If you have suffered from financial misfortune in the past, especially tied to bad trading decisions or outcomes, you may carry the scars of those episodes with you for a long, long time. Something that happened even years ago may be impacting you now, causing you to flounder in self-doubt and uncertainty. These old wounds can be torn open by all kinds of considerations. Maybe it is even just a certain time of the year, and you remember losing money at that time years ago. Or perhaps a situation arising now reminds you of one that has passed. Either way, it is easy to forget that now is not then.

5. Have you recently been questioning your own abilities or discipline because of poor decisions you have made?

This is connected to the situation above, but may also refer to more recent problems with your trading. If you have recently been breaking your system rules or failing with your discipline, you may question whether you have what it takes to be a trader. Even if you are taking steps to replace those bad habits with good ones, you may feel discouraged, and wonder whether your actions are futile. Change is possible, however, and I would challenge you to meet any successful trader who did not have to overcome these kinds of personal obstacles and shortcomings at some point in their career. If they did it, so can you.

6. Are you in a state of stress, anxiety, depression, of mania which could be impacting your trading?

There are all kinds of generalized emotions which could have an adverse impact on how you trade binary options. If you suffer from acute or chronic mental illnesses like anxiety or depression, it is important to become attuned to your triggers and the subtle shifts in your mood which could color your vision of your trading. Stress can also take a major toll on trading, and even mania can cause you to trade badly by tempting you to go on tilt. After stress comes burnout, which is even more emotionally taxing, and which may cause you to give up on trading altogether. Take care of yourself when you need to. If you need to take some time off to relax and change your point of view, do so. And if you cannot keep these moods at bay, look for ways to keep your perspective fresh. Just because an emotion is present does not mean you have to believe in all the messages it sends you.

7. Have you suffered a loss unrelated to trading recently in your life, or have you been under a threat of some sort which has caused you to feel insecure?

Losses outside of trading can impact your feelings while you trade. Maybe you lost a loved one recently, or a precious possession, or a job. Perhaps your personal health and safety has been threatened by an illness, by the loss of your occupation, or by a person who meant you harm. All of these situations put us on high alert, and make us feel like we must defend ourselves against future losses. They increase our perception that we live in a world that is ripe with uncertainty, and make us feel that disaster is around every corner. When you trade that way, you read into situations, and you may feel like you are failing even when you are doing fine. This in turn can cause you to make poor decisions to adjust, which can then cause real losses.

8. Has someone else said something to make you doubt your abilities?

If someone whose opinion means a lot to you as recently said something invalidating to you, it may cause you to start doubting yourself. Or perhaps you grew up in a home where you were invalidated as a child, and you have internalized that perception of yourself as someone who is not truly capable of winning. All of these invalidating situations can hamper our abilities and cause us to self-sabotage. If you are the sort of person who feels a fear of success, there is a good chance that this is one of the factors in that negative thought pattern.

9. What else is going on in your life right now that could be impacting your emotions?

While this checklist covers many possible situations which can cause you to become emotionally unstable while trading, it is by no means a full list. Always do a complete inventory of your personal and professional life. You may spot something else.

Only after you figure out what is causing the emotions you feel when you sit down to trade will you understand the role they are playing and what you can or should do about them. If your emotions are tied to a current losing streak, you may need to actually stop trading and do something about it. But in most other cases, the answer is to relax and renew your point of view. Sometimes this involves taking a break from trading, while other times it just involves adding some notes to your trading checklist to make sure you are making decisions based on logic and not the emotions you are struggling with.