Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness…Edward Stanley (14th Earl of Darby, 1799-1869)

The C word is not churn, candlesticks, commodities, contango, crash, curbs or any other Wall Street term that comes to mind. It’s CORTISOL.

Cortisol. an adrenal hormone, plays a critical role in the normal response to stress. By normal I mean the “short-lived, fight or flight and it is over” type of stress. In this way, cortisol is useful and protective to the body.

However, in extended periods of stress—with little or no respite, cortisol increases to high levels and stays elevated. When this occurs, this hormone shuts down normal neuroendocrine feedback mechanisms that regulate the adrenal gland and produce a chronic state of adrenal fatigue with a wide variety of signs and symptoms which include:

  1. Fatigue, despite what would normally be sufficient sleep
  2. Insomnia
  3. Weight gain
  4. Compromise of the immune system, leading to frequent colds, flu or other infections
  5. Depression
  6. Hair loss
  7. Diabetes and other metabolic abnormalities
  8. Skin eruptions
  9. Reliance on legal (caffeine, OTC, herbal stimulants) and illegal (amphetamine, cocaine) stimulants
  10. Increased craving for sweets and simple carbohydrates
  11. Intolerance to cold
  12. Deposition of belly fat, leading to protruding abdomen and back pain due to loss of support of the bony spine
  13. Irritability, anxiety, panic, cloudy thinking , impaired judgment
  14. Muscle and bone loss
  15. Elevated blood pressure with cardiac irregularities
  16. Increase in cholesterol and triglycerides
  17. Addiction to or abuse of alcohol, gambling, sex or shopping in an attempt to medicate stress
  18. Just plain feeling awful and not knowing why

You are troubled by the way you look and feel. You have gone to one medical practitioner after the other and they either tell you nothing is wrong or prescribe medication to deal with one or more symptoms and it makes you feel worse. Or they tell you that you are stressed and you should do something about the stress. Unfortunately, much of allopathic medicine doesn’t deal with stress-related illness until it becomes full blown and you are seriously ill.

There is absolutely no excuse for allowing stress to control your mind and body. It reflects a lack of self-esteem by telling the world that no matter how much money you make (or lose) trading, you don’t care about yourself. You sit at the computer for hours and don’t move. How is that working for you and how toxic is that for your body? Moreover, the chemicals and free radicals which accumulate in your body are slowly destroying your most important trading tool—the brain.

Immobility, junk food, binge snacking ( especially late at night), saturated fats, low-carb or high glycemic foods, one diet after another(few, if any work), inadequate exercise discipline and not caring for yourself are akin to poisoning yourself. Sabotage your health and you will soon sabotage your trading. What difference does it make how much money you make if you drop dead at age 50 from cardiovascular, degenerative or metabolic disease?

What should you do? Even if you knew, would you know where to start and would you be disciplined enough to follow through?

I don’t really teach you to trade (although you tell me repeatedly that I do). I help you get right with yourself so that you are in the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual condition that gives you the necessary edge to become successful, not only in trading, but in every aspect of your life.

In Part 2 of this article, I will have some suggestions and simple tips to help you get started.