Prevention is always better than the cure, saving you a lot of wasted time, lost money and grief if you learn to spot the warning signs ahead of time. To avoid it, you must learn to recognise the triggers.
You have “pre-triggers”, which are generally external factors. These could be anything; an argument with the wife/husband, trouble at work, financial worries, alcohol, drugs, lack of sleep, and many more. Whilst they are not the actual tilt trigger they make you more susceptible to the actual tilt trigger. If you start trading for the day worried about anything of relevance to your life, you are pretty much setting yourself up to fail.
Now for the actual triggers. Imagine you’ve be trading well all afternoon, you feel relaxed, you are in control. Then something happens, a trade goes against you, and the other market users are smashing that price further and further away from you. You’re heart starts racing as your emotions begin to take control. “It’s going to bounce back! If it doesn’t I’ll let it run in-play! If it loses I’ll double down to recover the loss”. Rational thinking is now completely out the window, you are on tilt.
The best way to avoid tilt is to protect yourself against it, but in order to do that, you must know both yourself and the game. For most, this is easier said than done. Human beings have not only an incredible gift for deceiving themselves, but also an insatiable need to be right. This is why most people tend to take profits early, yet they let their losses run, when in fact, it should be completely the opposite way around. The more knowledge you have about trading, and the simpler you keep your strategy, the better. This will make it much harder for you to stray away from your plan. The more you practice doing something, the more it becomes second nature for you to react without emotion.
A combination of both knowing yourself and knowing your trading strategy will still not give you 100% protection against tilt, but it will almost certainly give you a buffer and make you more aware of it when it starts to happen.
Once you start to realise that you are actually tilting, the two most important words are “STOP TRADING”. It’s time to take a break before you blow your entire bankroll. When you return from your break, immediately lower your stakes and only increase them when you have started trading successfully again. If you happen to lose the first few trades after your break, then realistically, it is time to switch the computer off for the day. There will always be another trading opportunity, but there are only so many bankrolls! Learn to control it, because if you don’t, tilt will control you.