3 Ways Playing Golf Can Help Relieve Stress—Way 3

by Doc Orman, M.D.

How Playing Golf Can Help Relieve Stress 3

This week, I’ve been focusing on three key ways playing golf can help people relieve their stress.  In my first post, I pointed out that golf can help us practice the fine art of leaving past events in the past.  In my second post, I explained how golf gives us an endless supply of opportunities to work on mastering our emotions.  Both of these skills can be either developed or improved through playing golf and then used in countless other areas of our life.

If you missed either of these two discussions, here are the links below:

Way 1—Leaving The Past In The Past

Way 2—Learning To Master Your Emotions

Staying In The Present

The third way golf can help us deal with life more effectively, and hence reduce our stress, is by helping us learn to stay in the present.  For most human beings, it is very difficult for us to stay focused on the present for very long.  We’re either automatically looking ahead or we are hopelessly stuck in moments from the past.

Ironically, many people enjoy playing golf because they like having a 4-5 hour block of time when they can be outdoors and take their mind of business or other daily concerns.  Yet when they are on the course, their mind wanders from what they did two minutes ago, to how they are going to get the ball onto the green and into the hole in front of them.

Rarely do we go from shot to shot staying fully focused on the present. Rarely do we walk down the fairway being present with each and every step, soaking in the richness of the sun-drenched day, communing with nature in a very connected fashion.  This is “normal” human behavior, but it sets us up for all kinds of daily stress.

Meditative Golf

Few people recognize that golf can be used as a meditative experience.  One of the goals of meditative practices is to retrain the mind to stay focused on the present. Well we can choose to play golf in the very same way.  We can choose to work on staying focused on the present with every aspect of the game. Sure it will be difficult to maintain this type of mental focus for very long, but that’s the whole point.  The more we use golf to practice this very important skill, the better we will get at it and the more relaxed and less stressed we will be during the other parts of our day.

Well, there you have it—3 good ways to use golf to help reduce stress.  Please leave your comments or thoughts below. 

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Steve Wilson July 5, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Thank you for your concise summation of a meditative process that can be applied to many activities: golf, walking, skiing, knitting, and more. Each individual must find their own (favorite? best?) activity. Sometimes it takes trial and error; sometimes, we tire of one activity and go to another. We can learn to go into our meditative space for short periods, too. Learn the process, find your activity. I would add something about breathing to fine tune it. Just saying…


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