CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing all your money. Read our full Risk Warning.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
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Psychology of Trading: Enhancing Focus and Discipline for Successful Investing

Marcel Deer - Writer for Fortrade
By Marcel Deer
Edited by Staff Editor

Updated March 4, 2024.

A trader seated at her desk in deep contemplation, with a laptop open in front of her as she considers her trading decisions

Success in the stock market is a product of experience and knowledge. But even an experienced and knowledgeable trader can suffer losses if they fail to possess the right frame of mind.

Trading psychology is just as important as book learning or hands-on experience regarding success. We as human beings are prone to biases—investors, traders, and individuals are prone to cognitive and emotional biases and heuristics that affect investment decisions.

Note: Fortrade offers the ability to trade the price changes of instruments with CFDs and NOT to buy/sell ownership of the instrument itself

What Is Trading Psychology?

The attitudes and emotions that make up the mental state of a trader represent their trading psychology.

Each of these factors influences trading decisions, and a trader who can control them can use trading psychology in his favor. There are two attitudes and four emotions that comprise trading psychology.


  1. Discipline
  2. Risk aversion or risk acceptance


  1. Greed
  2. Fear
  3. Hope
  4. Regret

» New to trading? See our guide to stock trading for beginners

Common Trading Psychology Mistakes

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Yet, some investors can't master the psychology of trading, leading to some of the most common trading mistakes.

1. Emotional Trading Decisions

Effective investment strategies should emanate from careful analysis, not emotional impulses. Nevertheless, many traders fall into the trap of making decisions based on emotional triggers. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) isn’t just a problem for teenagers; even investors sometimes fall prey to the herd mentality and make decisions based on this fear. Blindly following the masses rather than a careful strategy can leave traders in unfavorable positions, like buying shares of a stock that has already peaked.

a blue background with a line graph and the words trader's fomo

» Learn more about trading with Fortrade

2. Overtrading

Individual traders and brokers can fall into the trap of overtrading. Buying and selling excessive stock can be dangerous for both. Brokers can attract the ire of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) because overtrading in a customer’s account to generate commissions falls under the definition of manipulative and deceptive conduct. Individual traders who indulge in overtrading on their own account may not draw censure, but this scattershot approach rarely pays any dividends over the long run.

» Interested in currency trading? Take a look at our top forex trading tips

3. Revenge Trading

Like overtrading, revenge trading is a scenario where an investor attempts to recoup losses by upping the risks they take on their trades. Suffering a significant loss could alter a trader’s sense of risk management, prompting them to open up new positions without any overarching strategy.

How to Improve Trading Psychology

1. Practice Self-Awareness

Reflecting on your trading decisions leads to self-awareness. Traders should regularly review their market activity for signs of overtrading, revenge trading, or emotional trading decisions. How did your actual trades over the month compare to the strategy formulated beforehand?

2. Stick to Your Goals

Every trader needs a trading plan. The plan should outline their overall strategy and include essential specifics like the desired risk-reward ratio for trades. Coming up with a trading plan free of emotional biases will help create a strategy that has sound trading psychology.

3. Maintain Discipline

Controlling your emotions and remaining disciplined despite external factors signifies a strong trading mindset. Stay within the limits prescribed in your trading plan, and try not to let the market’s fluctuation push you to buy or sell before you are ready.

4. Enforce Risk Management

Being a daredevil when it comes to trading can backfire. It is more prudent and sustainable to adopt an approach with a robust risk management policy. Set limits on position sizes and use stop-loss orders to keep your losses to a minimum. When you don’t need to focus on threats of your own making, you can work on refining your trading psychology.

» Ready to master the psychology of trading and make informed investment decisions? See our video tutorials and trading courses for beginners

The Importance of Trading Psychology

Successful investors recognize the importance of trading psychology. Mastering trading psychology helps traders stay clear of some of the dangers inherent in the stock market. Discipline and focus can help you achieve your desired results in the stock market, which is why developing the right mindset as a trader is so important.