The dog days of summer are upon us, and things are starting to heat up on Wall Street. Earnings season has kicked off and is now in full swing. If you own shares of Outerwall (NASDAQ: OUTR), SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY), or Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (NYSE: NGVC), not only are your companies soon to report earnings, but you could be looking at a volatile week ahead.

That's because all three of these stocks are heavily shorted. And when heavily shorted companies report earnings, volatility is almost always the result. For proof, look at the three companies I highlighted in mid-July, which moved an average of 6% following their respective quarterly reports.

But instead of trying to profit from this information, I think long-term investors should prepare themselves mentally for the coming volatility. By zeroing in on what really counts over the years-long time horizon, you can ignore the noise of day-to-day moves. Check out the slideshow below to see what's really worth watching.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.