A few years ago, just before I discovered betting exchanges, I went on a round the world trip for a year. It was the best year of my life, fulfilling a dream I'd always had to travel. During that time I backpacked through India, South East Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific. One of my most memorable days was spent on a tiny Fijian island. I spent Christmas Day relaxing on a totally secluded beach. There was no resort on that particular beach, it had been kept completely as nature intended and I was the only person who ventured onto that stretch of coastline for the entire day. It was literally just me, the sand, the sun, the rainforest and the Pacific Ocean - perfection.
Today, I will be incorporating the memory of that Christmas Day into a new strategy to enable me to overcome my issues with frustration. It is apparent that no matter how well I analyse, plan and discuss tackling this mental problem, it all tends to go out the window once I'm inside the trading bubble. So I have to find a way to stop those emotions from resurfacing before it's too late. I've used self-hypnosis, time-outs and breathing techniques in the past and whilst they all work to an extent, the effects either are too short-term or I don't stick to performing them. This new strategy will incorporate all of those three techniques.
The key to dealing with frustration is in 3 phases: Awareness, Relaxation, Reflection. Firstly, I must be aware of my emotions. From now on, whenever I feel the first flushes of frustration, I will stop my trading immediately. Relaxation will involve closing my eyes and picturing that secluded beach. Using breathing techniques I learnt from hypnosis, I will calm myself down whilst recapturing the feelings I had when I was on that beach. It was the most relaxing and peaceful moment of my life and every time I think of how I felt whilst lying in the shade of a tree or paddling across the clear turquoise lagoon, I feel fantastic. I have never felt as free. I remember watching a blue star-fish turning itself over, a large, white bird trying to catch fish on the shore, little hermit crabs crawling around my body, the untamed tropical rainforest behind me and nothing at all in the distance, just the skyline and the endless expanse of blue ocean. It was nature at its purest.
This should snap me out of the trading bubble for long enough to enable me to reflect and rationalise the situation. I have no problem seeing the error of my ways before and after trading is over for the day. But during it, I seem to get lost in the emotion because I want to succeed so badly and I want to make a better life for myself as quickly as possible. But the emotion gets in the way of the actual trading. 'Going to the beach' will be my equivalent of what tennis players do inbetween points, where they either go for the towel or face the back of the court - re-setting their mind to focus on the next point. Awareness, Relaxation, Reflection - my new mantra!