Archived Newsletters - Self-Awareness:
Newsletter June 2001
Vol. II, Edition 6
By Joan A. King, C.Ht.
Do you pay attention to your emotional warning signs? The key to controlling your emotions is self-awareness. Controlling your emotions is essential for swinging smoothly. And when you are in a good emotional state you make good decisions.
When you are playing well, you probably experience good feelings such as joy, accomplishment, and success. But what do you feel when you have a series of missed shots, or a poor round, or lose a tournament? Perhaps you experience the feelings of disappointment, failure, embarrassment, anger, or feelings of not being good enough. At those times, a true champion is aware of his emotions and digs deep to pull up experience and wisdom from inner resources.
Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.
This is the ultimate. -Chauang-tzu
When your game begins to go south, that is the time to access your emotional self-awareness so you can turn your game around to go in a positive direction. Buddhists refer to a state of "mindfulness", which means paying attention to your environment, and being totally present in every moment. Being aware is often all it takes to change your perspective. One way to become aware is to experience the difference between association and dissociation.
You are associated with your golf shot when you experience it emotionally. You are dissociated with your golf shot when there is no emotional involvement.
For example, if you are at the pool watching a person dive off the high board, you are dissociated with the event. If you experience yourself diving off the board, you are associated with the dive.
To stay in a good arousal state (PMI enewsletter March 2000) you need to emotionally associate with your good shots and emotionally dissociate from the missed shots.
To associate, and thereby anchor the shot in your memory:
- Smile, and congratulate yourself after every good shot.
- Use an anchor such as a high five, fist pump.
- Feel the good feelings of success in your heart.
- Replay the missed shot physically and mentally to associate with the desired swing and outcome.
To dissociate, and therefore not anchor the shot in your memory:
- Let go of the outcome by seeing it as if someone else had hit the shot.
- Be aware of your body language such as grimacing, shoulders slumping, or banging a club that would indicate negative emotional association.
- Practice dissociation by not judging shots good or bad.
- Release negative emotions immediately and focus your attention on the next shot.
The moment of victory is wonderful, but the true enjoyment in the game comes from the four hours that you spend playing against the golf course, against par, and against yourself. Knowing yourself is the key to control and success.
The following are attitudes used by champions when they need to dig deep for extra strength and spirituality:
- Don't give up when the going gets tough.
- Don't worry about how you are hitting the ball. Get the ball in the hole.
- Be flexible. If what you are doing isn't working, try something different.
- Don't compare yourself to others. Stay with your game strategy to be focused, committed, confident. Get the most out of yourself and your game.
- Play with all your heart. Give your game 100% attention and intention on every shot. Don't save it for the next round.
- Don't let challenges defeat you.
- Don't look at obstacles as excuses, but as a way to show your greatness.
- Practice letting go. Let go of expectations. Let go of fears. Let go of worries. Let go of your reaction to missed shots. Let go of thinking how to swing the golf club. Trust that you can recover on the next shot.
- Decide that the next shot is the best opportunity to get started back on track for a good round.
- Think big. Believe in yourself and allow your body to do what it knows how to do when you don't interfere.
- Be decisive about executing your plans.
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower,
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.
"My handicap has come down four strokes in two months and I give credit to your audiotape, 'Self Hypnosis for Playing in the Zone'. Duane Sample
"By listening to your audiotape, 'Concentration for Consistent Golf', I am now able to shut out distractions. I look at a chip shot or putt and say, 'I can do this', and I do! Barb Multhauf