Become Emotionally Detached
Traders are consistently warned of the dangers of developing an emotional attachment to a position or a particular approach. This can be particularly dangerous, when you're clinging to a losing thought process or position, but is equally dangerous in its ability to prompt irrational decision-making. Many traders feel confident in their ability to make logical, reasoned decisions under pressure from the outset - this is a common misconception, and even those most used to dealing under intense pressure will feel the heat from time to time when they're staring down the barrel of a potentially significant loss.
Successful spread betting revolves around objectivity, and being able to distance yourself from the research process and the rollercoaster ride of the trade. Feeling a boost when you win and a slump when you lose is only natural, but trying to stabilise these feelings can be an important element in developing a successful trading mindset.
Accept Your Mistakes
The first step towards becoming a successful, objective trader is to accept that mistakes are inevitable, and to realise that positions that start to run into the red need to be cut sooner rather than later - even if that means accepting a loss. If a position is down 10 points and the trend is a downward one, don't feel compelled to chase the loss. Sure, the position might recover eventually, but you'd have to have very deep pockets and a very sympathetic broker, and at any rate there are no guarantees. Accepting mistakes as they happen and minimising their impact on your trading account is essential to successful trading, and while it runs counter to human nature to want to accept a loss (especially where money is concerned), there's no sense in throwing good money after bad just to save face.
Count The Aggregate
While feeling both the highs and lows is part of the fun and thrill of spread betting, it is also largely unhelpful when it creeps into your decision making. These emotions tend to promote chasing losses and cutting profits - the exact reverse approach of sensible, successful trading. That's because we feel relieved to see our numbers in the black, and despair at the red. But here's an important thing to remember - spread betting isn't about hitting the homerun, nor is it about who wins most frequently. It's a game of aggregates, and there's always another trade.
Whether you lose no trades or nine trades in a row, you can still walk away with the same earnings. It seems hard to believe, but you only need one successful position to keep on running to recoup your losses on any particular previous transaction. Keep your eye on the bigger picture, and understand that traders of all levels of experience sustain losses from time to time. It happens - don't beat yourself up about it, but instead redouble your research efforts in the next transaction and most importantly stick to your trading strategy and you'll soon recover.
Getting a handle on your emotional reactions to certain trading circumstances is very much a psychological battle that must be overcome. While this can be more problematic for some than others, no spread bettor should feel immune from the strength of feeling they may face when things are going particularly well or otherwise. By remaining loyal to your strategy and behaving rationally and logically in all your trading processes, you should notice an improvement in your overall trading success with time.