How to Manage Stress:
Lessons I Learned Playing Golf

Golfing Poster

Many women I know want to learn how to manage stress.  But, the daily stressors they encounter, which often start as distractions, can soon turn into obstacles, blocking these women from achieving their goals or handling daily responsibilities. By applying some tips and strategies I learned while playing golf.  I have learned  many things which I would like to share with you, including how to manage stress and how to cope with stress .

If you have never played golf, let’s just say it is a humbling game.  You literally hit a small ball a long way until you can finally put it into a small cup in the grass.  But the game is played on beautifully manicured backdrops of greenery and the views of nature can be breath taking and peaceful.  You are alone with your thoughts.  This game of golf can be very helpful in learning some of life’s lessons.  This is what I have learned about how to manage stress, and how to live a more satisfying and fulfilling life. 

Here Are Four Lessons Learned:

Develop a Game Plan.

When playing a round of golf, whether it is 9 holes or 18 holes, the best approach to be successful is to develop a game plan.  Know how you want to play the game before you begin.  This works in life as well.  When you are handling different responsibilities, have a game plan. Develop a set of SMART Goals.  Game plans need to have a strategy, and they need to be flexible in order to handle unforeseen changes and unforeseen adversity.  You can hit a great shot, but the ball bounces into a sand trap.  Hmmm.

Not everything in life goes as expected, but if you know to expect some bumps (or sand-traps) along the way, you will find that you are not derailed from your game plan.  If game plans are too rigid, then when aspects change, you are ill prepared to accommodate and make changes.  Often golfers get angry when they play poorly; or they become overcome with fear when they participate in a competition.  They often doubt their own ability to succeed.  These stressful situations result because the players don’t know how to manage stress well.  Anger, fear and self-doubt often become present in daily life situations.  Just like the game of golf, don’t let anger, fear, or self-doubt become a distraction in your game plan.

Develop Your Skill for Selective Memories.

Golfers need selective memories to remember the great shots and forget the bad ones.  We all make good shots and bad shots in life.  However, we can find ourselves becoming stressed more frequently if we continually remind ourselves of how episodes in life went wrong, or how we handled things badly. 

To consider how to manage stress in our lives, we must make a conscious effort to remember the successful ways in which we handled life’s episodes.  We can therefore use the selective memory to keep us positive during challenging situations. Selective memory helps a golfer grow in confidence as she gains experience and skill.  The same strategy applies to daily life situations.

Learn to Respond Well from Mistakes.

scenic golf course image

Golf is a game played by humans.  Therefore, it is a game where mistakes are made.  Successful golfers know how to respond to mistakes.  They accept the fact that mistakes happen and move on.  If you think that you are going to breeze through life without too much adversity, then you are doomed for disappointment.  By accepting that mistakes will happen, learn and move on from them.  You will find that you can manage stress more effectively when you are not dwelling on the negatives.

Use Your Free Will Wisely.

Our creator has endowed us with a free will, which means that people can think any way they want to think.  You can choose to be a happy person or a miserable person.  When playing a round of golf, you can choose to enjoy the outing or choose to be miserable when every shot doesn't go exactly as planned. 

Life is a journey and you have the free choice to decide how you will view it.  Your attitude is your own.  You have the freedom to decide how to manage stress in your life and how to handle each day as it unfolds.  The fact that I can be a part of a beautiful and peaceful setting, and that I can participate in a form of exercise, keeps me mindful that golf is a game to enjoy and not become stressed when I am   not (and never will be) perfect.

Still have questions.  Check the articles listed on the left-hand Navigation Bar for more answers and click on the resources located in the right-hand column.  Great books are listed.  Having read them, I have included them on other pages.  Life is meant to be a great adventure.  Keep swinging and enjoy the journey.

What I Learned on the Tennis Courts

Stress Management for Women

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