Start the New Season Off Right
The 2021 golf season is just beginning. It is a chance to start fresh — an opportunity to become a better, stronger, more focused player.
They say golf is 90 percent mental, and Dr. Patrice Holmes, a Middlesex Health psychiatrist, offers tips that will help you be more mindful as you play golf — and go about your life!
It is important to start off every new season in a positive way, says Dr. Patrice Holmes, a Middlesex Health psychiatrist. Dr. Holmes says affirmations, positive phrases that you can say to yourself for encouragement, can help you do this. Your affirmations can reflect an aspirational goal or mind set.
Practicing gratitude also helps! Gratitude is an evidence-based strategy for stress reduction. It brings attention to the people, circumstances and things that you are grateful for, which can be reinvigorating in times of stress.
If you want to stay relaxed while on the course, start with a good night’s sleep. And when you wake up, make sure you have breakfast or a healthy snack before you head out for the day! Adequate sleep, hydration and nutrition support good attention and concentration, Dr. Holmes says.
You may also want to also focus on breathwork, a form of mindful breathing that helps to calm to the central nervous system. Breathwork can help people stay in tune with their surroundings.
To combat fatigue, which can impair focus, you may want to:
- Go to bed earlier
- Increase your hydration
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Take more frequent breaks to stand and stretch
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Get a massage
- Listen to music
- Practice restorative yoga, which can help you stay focused while also improving your flexibility (Note: You should talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise routines.)
How not to get frustrated
Golf can be a frustrating game. To manage intense emotions, try doing some breathwork. You can also use distancing language to help you when you are frustrated. For example, talk to yourself in third person, or as you might talk to a good friend. This helps to soothe the emotional part of your brain, and it can help you access the logical part of your brain.
Try not to be overly critical of yourself! This can deflate your enthusiasm.
As previously mentioned, meditation is a great way to improve focus and manage your stress as you perform under pressure. Headspace is a mobile app that includes a guided tutorial on how to meditate. Insight Timer is another app with more than 35,000 free meditations.
Connecting with loved ones, spiritual practices, reading a good book, listening to music, watching a good movie and playing with a beloved pet are other ways to manage any stress before you head to the golf course.
Connecticut is beautiful during golf season. Enjoy the fresh air, and refresh your love of the game!
Patrice Janell Holmes, MD
Specialties / Areas of Care
- Adult Outpatient Mental Health Care
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- Accepting New Patients
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