5.2. THE SOURCE OF FEAR

The body's response to stress is meant to be adaptive, helping you to cope with dangerous situations. It prepares you for fight—stand your ground—or flight—flee the situation—by increasing blood flow to the muscles, increasing heart rate and breathing rate, emptying the stomach and gastrointestinal tract of blood, and heightening your senses. Physiologically, when you become anxious or fearful, your heart pumps adrenaline into the bloodstream, a natural or automatic response to danger, novel stimuli, or symbolic risks. Thus, you may experience palpitations and difficulty breathing. Dizziness, lightheadedness, difficulty swallowing, and butterflies in your stomach are also common accompaniments of the adrenaline response.

These symptoms often burst forth in the fast-paced world of trading. They might be a response to the stresses of business or to memories of past trading experiences, not to actual danger. Regardless, your body reacts the same. It becomes overloaded. Your capacity to cope effectively is significantly reduced by the overreaction of your nervous system. You expend excess energy to reduce these reactions or to hide or control them. And if you don't recognize that this is happening and don't attempt to deal with these responses, you are likely to become overwhelmed. Therefore, to manage anxiety and fear while dealing with the uncertainty of the market, you need to be able to notice and separate your emotional responses from the decisions that ...

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