The Psychology of Regret: How You Can Weaponize Negative Emotions to Your Advantage

by | May 31, 2023

As traders, we all go through ups and downs…

Sometimes we’re super hot, nailing every play. Other times, we cool off and lose our grooves.


Quite frankly, I’ve been on a bit of a cold streak recently, which has led me to feeling one specific emotion…


But, why do I feel so regretful after losses?

Check this out…

Asking myself this question led me to dig deeper into human psychology and, in particular, the science of regret

Keep reading to see the three important aspects of regret I learned from my studying…

Regret Affects the Mind and the Body…

When we experience regret, we usually think about how it makes us feel emotionally

Regret can cause you to feel guilt, sadness, and/or disappointment. 

These emotions can be overwhelming and consume your mental and emotional well-being. 

Prolonged or excessive regret can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression, hindering your overall happiness and peace of mind.

It goes without saying that if your mind is this consumed with regret, you’re probably not gonna trade your best.

And surprisingly, regret can cause physical symptoms as well. 

That’s right. The feelings of helplessness and remorse associated with regret can lead to physical problems with your immune system. 

A recent study showed that test subjects who expressed less overall regret reported experiencing fewer cold symptoms.

And at the end of the day, your health is more important than anything…

Ask any wealthy person who has contracted a serious illness. Money and success don’t mean much if you aren’t physically healthy.

So, don’t let regret control you. But don’t think it’s all bad either (more on that later)

Bottom line: Regret not only affects your mind but your body as well. 

Regret from Inaction > Regret from Misaction 

This one should truly speak to every serious trader, so listen up…

Studies have shown that regret tied to inaction is much more painful than regret tied to misaction.

In other words … It’s better to take a calculated risk and lose some money than it is to let a good setup pass you by entirely.

So, if you have an incredible opportunity in the market … take it!

Even if it doesn’t work out in the end, the regret you feel from a loss will be more tolerable than if you miss a home run.

Like the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky famously said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

I’m constantly reminding myself of this fact after my regrettable trades from the past few weeks. 

And I suggest you do the same anytime regret from a recent play starts creeping into your mindset.

Regret Can Be a Positive Thing

At the end of the day, regret is an unavoidable aspect of being human. 

And honestly, after doing a bit of research, I’ve realized we should be happy that we experience it.

After all, if you don’t regret your mistakes, you’ll never improve upon them moving forward.

Regret can prompt us to change paths, making different — and potentially better — trading decisions. 

It redirects our focus, encouraging us to take alternative routes or explore new setups. 

By acknowledging your regrets, you can potentially become more adaptable and open to trying different approaches in your trading.

This circles back to an idea I’ve mentioned several times before — embracing the pain of losing

If you don’t feel the pain, you’re unlikely to find the motivation to improve. And regret is a necessary part of that pain. 

So next time you’re feeling an overwhelming sense of regret, don’t sweat it…

Bottom line: Think of regret as a mental test that exists to help you become a better trader.

Final Thoughts

Some recent losing trades — and missed opportunities — have left me consumed with regret. 

And feelings of regret can be painful both emotionally and physically. We’ve all been there…

But regret has positive aspects as well. It serves to help you avoid mistakes moving forward. 

So, remember … While regret can be a tough pill to swallow, it can also be a catalyst for growth.

Meet Mark:

Mark Croock is a former accountant who after studying under Millionaire Trader Tim Sykes turned his small account into $4.11 million in trading profits by applying Tim’s strategies to options trading.

He started Evolved Trader to pay it forward and help other traders learn how to leverage options


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