When you hear the words “Meditation” or “Mindfulness”, what comes to mind?
A Buddhist Monk sitting under a tree? Something that only peaceful, non-stressed hippies do on retreat? You might already have experience on or off the green…
Why is Mindfulness and Meditation getting so much attention lately? Why is it so popular in a range of communities such as medical, scientific, performance, corporate and even schools?
Simply – it works!
Neuroscience is now catching up with ancient wisdom and practices, with thousands of scientific trials evaluating the positive effects Meditation has on the brain and life.
What do they have in common? Finding a way to be fully present in the moment. How? Less thinking and more sensing.
Golf is described as a “mental game” and when only 30 minutes in every 18 holes is spent taking shots, that leaves a lot of time to be in your head! Add to that the thinking that actually goes on during a shot (swing technique, thinking about your last bad shot or putting pressure on the outcome of the next shot….), it is no surprise that Sports Psychologists, Performance Coaches and well known Pro Golfers have a focus on performance mindset, including Mindfulness!
Top 10 reasons to be more mindful:
1. Intensify your focus
2. Stay calm under pressure
3. Be more resilient when faced with setbacks
4. Reduce the impact of negative self-talk
5. Unlock creativity
6. Reduce stress and soothe anxiety
7. Improve your overall sense of wellbeing
8. Be focused on the present, not the outcome of the next shot
9. Better regulate your emotions
10.Feel more connected (to others, to your authentic self, to nature)
What is Meditation vs Mindfulness and how does it relate to Golf?
When I went through Corporate Burnout, Meditation and Mindfulness practice was the foundation of recovering and then transforming my life. Since then, I’ve depended my own practice, kept up with the wave of science and emerging themes from cutting edge thought-leaders as well as supporting my adult clients and children in starting their own practice.
I don’t play Golf myself (yet!) but through being involved with my sons learning over the last 12 months, I’ve noticed how mindfulness applies through their lessons and playing their first tournaments. I’ve noticed the impact of mindset on their games as well as observing a brilliant canvas for mindfulness practice! The concentration required, dealing with setbacks and frustration, keeping a simple focus and especially witnessing the impact of negative self talk! I’m also appreciating the opportunities to connect with nature as I walk around the course with them.
So, while I’m not imparting any technical Golfing wisdom, I’m tapping into my experience as an Executive and Life Coach, Science Geek and Mother/Wife/Daughter/Friend to some mad Golfers!
Meditation is a way to deliberately calm the mind and relax the body. It gets you out of your head, shifting you from ‘thinking’ to ‘sensing’, and to what you’re directly experiencing in that moment. There are lots of of different meditation practices, which means you can find a practice that works for you.
Meditations can be put into into 3 categories: Formal, informal and spot meditations. What this means is that whatever the situation and however much time you have, you can find a practice to bring you back to the present moment. Read on for some quick tips on how to apply this in your game.
Mindfulness is an aspect of meditation known as the practice of paying attention or experiencing the present moment without judgement. You could think of it as being in a state of simplicity, focusing on one thing at a time. How good does it feel to just be enjoying what you’re doing and not thinking about having to be somewhere else or what needs to be done or worrying about something?!
When a pro golfer is preparing to take a shot, what do you think is going on for her? I bet she’s not thinking about what bills need to be paid, what’s for dinner or which club she will use 3 shots from now. She’s certainly not buying into a voice in her head that is giving her grief about the last shot, how hopeless she is and how she might as well give up!
A pro golfer will be focused on what is going on right now, not the past or the future. She will feel calm, clear and “in the zone”. She will be keeping things simple and feel confident, feeling her feet firmly grounded, body relaxed and enjoying the way it feels to swing the club and hear that perfect “tlock” sound as the club hits the ball.
What do you notice? Is the focus more on ‘thinking’ or ‘sensing’? By getting out of your head and experiencing your senses, you experience the present moment, helping you keep things simple and get back in the game! Isn’t is interesting that we talk about Golf being a mental game and the path to improved mental performance is actually getting out of your head?!
In my next post, you’ll learn about the different types of Meditations and Mindfulness activities for your toolkit, ranging from a few seconds to an hour!
In the mean time, please reach out to me or leave a comment below if something resonates with you or you have any questions!
Dana is the founder and Chief Possibilities Officer of Soulful Kids, which exists to inspire children to believe in themselves, empowering them to live to their highest potential. Dana believes in Work-Life-Integration, not Work-Life-Balance and is also a Member of the International Coach Federation, a Licensed Desire Map Facilitator and an Associate Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Managers.