GOLF MENTAL GAME PRACTICE TIPS BY DR. RICK SESSINGHAUS
Just breathe. Right? We’re told to do that a lot, but we have to understand how important breathing is. When we’re in a stress response, we literally can’t think straight. So, the first skill, first technique is to breathe. Now, breathing is an unconscious activity that we want to make conscious. So, I want to tell you a little bit about … that there’s so many aspects of breath, which I’m not gonna get into all of them.
Everything rhythm and smoothness and speed and volume and depth and entrainment, all these different things that we can measure the quality of your breath with. Owning your breath is also one of the key components of mastering your golf mental game.
But I want you to key in on three key areas. One is, we want to have a rhythm to the breath that is consistent. Some people say, “Take a deep breath.” That’s not gonna do you any good. Okay? We want to have a certain rhythm that’s inhalation, exhalation that is the same consistently. Right?
Next, is the smoothness of that. Now, that’s related to the rhythm, but is there a certain smoothness about the inhalation, holding, exhalation, holding, and coming through? And the last part really is what are you focusing on while you’re breathing? Some people are trying to breathe and they’re still stressed out about an event, and what I want you to do is start to focus on your heart.
So, breathing now is gonna be a technique. Literally a skill you’re gonna develop as you focus on your heart. Having a rhythmic, smooth breath that’s consistent inhale, consistent exhale. And you’re gonna do that throughout the day.
So, actually have a routine that’s built around breathing. It could be how to start your day. It could be right before a potentially stressful meeting. It could be right before you get into … going from work to home. It’s a way to ground you, to recenter you. ‘Cause remember, when we’re in a stressful situation, it’s very difficult to think straight. The first thing you can do is to breathe to regain your physiological control. So now you can think straight.
There’s some similar to breathing techniques, and it’s by a company called HeartMath. It’s something that I’m certified in. Same similar things, rhythm and smoothness, and focus on heart, but you can add one more element to that. By focusing on the heart and using an emotion like gratitude or appreciation or love will not only relax you, it’ll shift your emotional state from stress to being grateful for something. That’s very powerful.
So, the first part of breathing is the physiological control, but now we add that other element of heart math and heart rate variability training, and being coherent. And having coherence is a way of getting the mind and the body connected.
So, with breathing, you can also use technology. So, I use an app on my phone that I can fire up, and it already has the settings for the rhythm that I want. And maybe I do six, seven, eight breaths with that. I have it on my phone as a reminder. Maybe it’s at 12:00, it’s kind of mid-part of the day. I have other reminders on my Fitbit that tell me when to breathe. I know that sounds like, “Well, Rick, come on. We always breathe.” But I need you to be more conscious of your breath.
Remember, we’re trying to reduce the stress response. We’re trying to have you stay in a neutral state. If you’re positive, that’s fantastic, but I need you to think straight again. So, we’re gonna be breathing with consistent rhythm, smoothness, focusing on the heart, and that added benefit of feeling the emotion of gratitude and appreciation and love is gonna help you regain control, and go from the stress now to success. All a part of your golf mental game strategy and life in general.