Stop the golf anxiety in it's tracks

Controlling Your Emotions – Part 4

Ok, Ok, I know 4 parts is a bit much, but it’s soooo important in managing our game for lower scores that I felt I had to fill in some blanks from what is not on the CD’s. I’ll make this the last one for now but who knows, I’m always reading and researching new things to tell you about this area in the future. Anxiety on the golf course comes from all of our difficult emotions. We fear them and we fear the perception of failure. This is what causes the anxiety which could be just a mask over the real fears.

Well, there is something we can do about it on the golf course when we are out of emotional control:

So I left you last week by saying that our unconscious mind is the domain of all of our emotions and that it reacts symbolically. This means that it does things and acts when it is presented with something that triggers one it’s automatic responses. For instance, many people will instantly change their attitude when they see a person in a uniform of some authority. Like say a police officer uniform or maybe a military uniform. They may have a positive or negative reaction but all the same, it’s just some cloth on a body.

We react all day every day to such symbols like logos, flags, monuments etc. The point is, your body can instantly manifest a physical change without your trying to by being exposed to a symbol of some sort and it’s all controlled at the unconscious level. Knowing this, psychology and NLP have come up with some ways to take advantage of this for creating positive states and change.  I’ve found it to be useful on the golf course as well.

So let’s say you’ve just lost your cool on the last shot but the next one coming up is very important. You know from the last article that there are chemical processes at work in your body and so you need something strong, right now, as an antidote to turn it around. What you might want to do is to bring something with you in your golf bag, maybe it’s a special red handkerchief, maybe it’s your lucky hat, it could be anything that you believe is your symbol for a resourceful state. Something that you had with you that you associate (an anchor) with a successful achievement from your past like a trophy. Your body has the ability to instantly change it’s chemistry if you are really good at communicating with your unconscious mind.

Studies with multiple personalities have shown that these subjects instantly change such biological functions as: brain-wave patterns, blood flow patterns, muscle tone, heartrate and even allergies (from the book Holographic Universe) when they change personalities. That is how powerful our unconscious mind is. You can turn off the anxiety as fast as you turned it on.

You possess this same skill. It’s just a matter of thinking about it in advance and using some sort of symbol to help get you there when you want it.  How about bringing a picture of someone with you to bring out. Or a picture of yourself in a great moment. It doesn’t even have to be a good moment, just something that is a very strong memory that can get you back to neutral at least. This is all very very possible and if you’re one who is prone to letting negative emotions get to you and affect your game, this is a very good strategy. You can do it very easily and all on the sly by just going into your bag and opening your wallet for second and taking a look at that picture right there on the golf course.

The last thing I want to leave you with on this subject is that we can become addicted to the anxiety and emotions. Yep, no kidding, just like an addictive drug. Some of you may be surprised to learn that you can actually become addicted to feeling angry or frustrated. Why in the world would we do that?  The answer is the same as why do people like to go see horror movies: it makes them feel alive. It helps them express passion that they may otherwise be lacking. It’s not that we consciously WANT to be angry. It’s just that those darn peptides cause the cells to go crazy, vibrate, move. If you want to see a funny explanation of that in a movie I recommend “What the bleep do we know.”

Anyway, again, it’s awareness. Ask yourself are you in a habit of getting angry? Can you go a full round without losing it?  Play your next round with only that goal in mind and forget about your score.  And then, at night when doing your mental practice and self-hypnosis or accelerated learning visualizations, see yourself in complete control of all your emotions and state. Play that round in your head like you see Retief Goosen at a major. Rehearse it regularly just like the astronauts did before the first mission to the moon.

Remember, Winners win in advance!

Greens and fairways,