How Do Emotions Play A Role In Trading?

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How Do Emotions Play A Role In Trading?

How Do Emotions Play A Role In Trading?


  • Emotions wield undeniable power in the world of trading. Fear and greed drive decisions, shaping market trends and volatility.
  • As a trader, you can adopt strategies and techniques that promote emotional control and rational decision-making.
  • Revenge trading is an impulsive response to losses in trading.
  • Revenge traders experience anger, greed, and fear when trading, making them make irrational and uninformed decisions. They abandon rational strategies, leading to further losses and increased risk.

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It is completely normal to experience all kinds of emotions as human beings, which heavily affects our day-to-day decisions and tasks.

Our emotions (feelings) dictate our judgment in the most mundane tasks – what to wear, what to eat, where to go, etc. Not only this, but our emotions also influence our buying decisions. According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, our feelings determines 95% of our buying decisions.

Similarly, our feelings interfere in our trading strategies and the way we trade.

In this article, we will discuss to what extent our emotions affect our judgment in trading, and how our strategies get affected.

Emotions in Trading

It is no secret that emotions play a massive role in our lives. As a trader, they affect decision-making, performance, and overall success in financial markets.

Notably, fear and greed are vital emotions that determine trading intent. Panic can cause traders to sell stocks quickly, while greed leads to overconfidence and unreasonable risk.

These emotional responses are individual and collective, affecting stock prices and market dynamics:

  • Fear-based panic selling can drive prices down, while irrational greed can drive prices up.
  • The volatility generated by these emotional reactions reverberates worldwide, affecting market speculation and volatility.
  • Sentiment fluctuations also occur in international markets, with investor sentiment inversely predicting returns.

Therefore, we can conclude that emotions contribute to the market’s unpredictability, and its inconsistency.

How to Handle Emotions When Trading

As a trader, it is best to adopt strategies and techniques that promote emotional control and rational decision-making.

Develop and Stick to Trading Rules

By establishing clear and defined trading rules, you can maintain discipline and control over your emotions:

  1. Risk/Reward Tolerance Levels – knowing the risk tolerance level often helps investors plan their portfolio, which will drive how they invest.
  2. Profit Targets – can help investors reduce risk by creating a target price where the trader wants to take a profit on a certain trade.
  3. Stop Loss Orders – is a risk-management tool that automatically sells a security once a certain price has been reached.
Be Mindful

Incorporating mindfulness and meditation techniques can help traders cultivate self-awareness and emotional regulation.

These practices promote a calm and focused mindset, essential for making objective trading decisions.

Journal Your Trades

Journaling your trades lets you track your emotions, behaviours, and performance.

This practice provides valuable insights into patterns, biases, and areas that need improvement, helping traders rectify emotional biases.

Take Breaks

Stepping away from trading during periods of heightened emotions can prevent impulsive decisions.

Breaks allow traders to regain perspective and clarity, reducing the risk of emotional trading.

Implement an Effective Strategy

Engaging with a supportive trading community or seeking guidance from a Risk Management mentor can be valuable to any trader.

Trading can be challenging, especially for newer traders. When you first kick off your trading journey, there is a high possibility you will fall under pressure, which is exactly where risk management comes into play.

By managing your risk, you can:

  • Decrease uncertainty in any form
  • Ensure successful planning by reducing chances of failure
  • Minimise potential losses, and protect profits
  • Enhance safety

Portfolio diversification is a popular method amongst traders, as it reduces risk without sacrificing much in the way of returns.

It typically includes more than just on type of investment to help investors buffer downside risks, and may lead to better opportunities. By not “keeping all your eggs in one basket”, you ensure a minimisation of losses. all while maximising returns.

Simply put: by spreading your investments over various asset classes, you are going to increase the likelihood that at least some of your investments will perform well, even when others don’t.

Is The Market Affected by Emotions?

As already mentioned, emotions can play a massive role in moving the markets.
Fear, amongst other emotions, is one of the strongest emotions that can alter market movement.

So, which emotions are more likely to move the markets?

Fear and Panic

When a trader panics, a chain reaction occurs. Bad news or unexpected activities leads a trader or investor to make unsure market decisions.

This emotional reaction could cause a certain commodity to fall, causing a catastrophic financial crash as investors scramble to protect their investments.

A very popular and relevant example would be the FTX Crash – a major cryptocurrency exchange that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2022, leaving traders not only in a state of panic, but also suffering from major losses.

  • BTC price dipped below $16,000 in November of 2022.
  • ETH price also dipped below $1,100.
  • SOL dipped below $13 on the same day as well.

This shows how the spreading of FUD i.e Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt, heavily affects both the markets and traders’ performance – and might even be discouraging to some.


Conversely, optimism can drive the market to unsustainable highs.

Greed can push fees beyond reasonable, leading to market bubbles and risky transactions.

The attractive profits make investors make irrational decisions, thus making the market vulnerable to sudden downturns.

Herd Mentality and Overreaction

The mood of the crowd plays one important role.

Investors tend to watch the famous traders, who succumb to emotions that drive mass buying or selling.

This overaction adds to emotions that make investors panic, sell, or buy, hence moving the market.

Confirmation Bias

Investors are looking for data that validates their sentiments.

Confirmation bias leads to irrational decision-making and increases market volatility.

Behavioural economics studies these complex psychological and economic interactions, finding that emotions get in the way of reason.

Market Sentiments

Sentiment signs gauge the collective mood, reflecting marketplace feelings.

We find the stock market easily influenced by any sort of statement: whether political, social or financial.

One example would be the overall market sentiment surrounding any Fed’s meeting or press conference.

Markets are definitely impacted when the Fed decides to pause or hike rates. A hawkish or dovish stance is significant for the markets – whether traditional markets or cryptocurrencies.

Most of the time, markets react aggressively when the Fed announces its new policy decisions, leaving lasting effects on stock prices and the overall state of the economy.

What is Revenge Trading?

Revenge trading is an impulsive response to losses in trading.

It is when a trader makes unforeseen losses due to a lousy trading move and decides to let his emotions, like anger and sadness, override his trading decisions by attempting to recoup his losses fast.

Revenge trading is the riskiest way to trade because you are trading totally based on your emotions.

Revenge traders experience anger, greed, and fear when trading, making them make irrational and uninformed decisions. They abandon rational strategies, leading to further losses and increased risk.

What Causes Revenge Trading?

Revenge trading can be triggered by the following:


Intense frustration, often due to a loss, drives traders to retaliate against the market.

Anger blinds practical reasoning and prompts impulsive traders to “get even,” which can eventually lead to more losses.


A desire for rapid gains leads traders to overexert and recoup losses swiftly.

Impatience and unrealistic expectations disregard the gradual accumulation of wealth.

Poverty Mindset

Feeling financially behind compels traders to overreach, taking excessive risks to recover swiftly, exacerbating losses.


Fear of accepting a loss prompts hasty trades, seeking immediate remedy without assessing the situation logically.

Lack of Awareness

Insufficient self-awareness in trading situations contributes to impulsive decisions driven by emotions.


Overestimating the reliability of a strategy triggers more significant trades fueled by misplaced self-assurance.

Unfamiliarity with Probabilities

Lack of understanding of strategy probabilities leads to poor decision-making, often driven by emotions.

How To Avoid Revenge Trading?

Revenge trading can result in huge losses of investment and can be avoided by using the following steps:

Recognise Emotional Triggers

Acknowledge emotions like anger, greed, and fear that can fuel revenge trading.

Understand how these emotions manifest and their potential impact on your decisions.

Take a Break

After a loss, step back. Give yourself time to analyse the situation objectively. Taking breaks can prevent hasty actions driven by emotions.

Review and Reflect

Analyse your trades, profits, and losses. Identify patterns or mistakes that led to revenge trading.

This reflection can help you learn from your experiences.

Set Clear Trading Rules

By setting clear trading rules and sticking to them, you know when to trade, stop, and what to do next if you experience any loss.

You can also establish thresholds for daily losses or gains and commit to these limits.

Be Emotionally Aware

Cultivate mindfulness during trading. Be attuned to your emotional state and pause if you feel emotionally charged.

Mindfulness helps you make rational choices.

Plan and Strategise Well

Trade with a well-defined plan and strategy. Having a structured approach reduces the likelihood of making impulsive, revenge-driven trades.


Understanding that emotions are part of our daily life is not only important, but also crucial for better management on both professional and personal levels.

By recognizing the role emotions play, managing triggers, and employing strategies to avoid revenge trading, traders can harness emotions to their advantage and navigate the dynamic world of trading with greater control and success.

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