Is trading bad for my mental health?

7:15 PM: I pick up my phone to check the price of bitcoin. The trade that I opened a few days ago is doing well, up a few thousand. I look at the chart to see if it looks like it has peaked, hasn’t yet. Okay, back to Christmas dinner

7:20 PM: I pick up my phone to check the price again, it’s gone down $50. No bother, i say to myself, i’m already up thousands on this trade. Put my phone down again.

7:25 PM:  I think about my altcoin holdings and realize that i haven’t actually looked at this smaller portion of my holdings. I open up Blockfolio to check my portfolio, the alts arent doing bad, but wow my net-worth has gone up by near $10k this week. 

I think this is why they made it so the stock market opens and closes, for the sanity of people deep in this endless cycle of placing bets, and validation. This was a feature, not a bug. Perhaps the always-on nature of crypto-markets is more suited to today’s perma-connected world, but at what cost?

I had a realization that every time that I pick up my phone, and look at the price, I get a tiny little hit of dopamine, like a problem gambler at a cards table, anxiously awaiting the revelation of the next turn card. Having been this person in a past-life, this current vice feels like it is less anxiety inducing, because at least this game isn’t stacked against me, yet somehow it is more omnipresent.

When i’m spending time with my partner, I’m at the table. When I’m working on something I’m passionate about, I’m at the table. I continue to sit at the table because it feels like I’m always right and that I can’t lose. Every time i’m right i get a little piece of external validation, where i get to tell my inner voice that i’m smart and feeds my ego which always “knew” that I could short-cut life and not have to work as hard as others.

My dilemma is this: how can I capitalize on this opportunity which I’ve spent so many hours researching that it’s the closest thing that I know to sure thing, while freeing myself from the mental baggage that comes with it. My intuition tells me that these things are not mutually exclusive. Is there such a thing as a trader who also has inner peace?

The trading itself is not the source of my addiction, my addictive tendencies are projected upon the trading. So on one hand i know that it is possible to have both peace of mind, and still be a trader, however trying to shift to this mindset is like trying to quit drinking while I’m at the bar. I suppose for now i’ll go for another drink.