There is a new spirit around this holiday season. It is the spirit of good will towards men and women. Everywhere there are lights bringing a new warm spirit around us uplifting our energy. Songs are being played reminiscent of past warm memories, opening our hearts. Now is the time to begin programming that same lightness and joy into your golf game, playing from your heart instead of your head.

This is a wonderful time of year. It is the season of love, peace, goodwill, and brotherliness. It is a time to celebrate all that is good and joyful.

Life is a choice, and you have the power to slow down and enjoy the season.  Oftentimes the heart and soul of the holidays get lost in the hustle and bustle of shopping, planning, and entertaining. In the same way you can lose the joy of playing golf by trying too hard to understand, analyze, and perfect your golf swing.

In most parts of the country, golfers have now turned to other interests including holiday celebrations.  Regardless of whether you are playing golf now, or not, the end of the year is a good time to reflect on what you did well during the past year and decide how you can improve for the upcoming year.  A good place to start the New Year is with a mental training program to improve your life and your golf game.

With the holiday season well underway you are probably experiencing a lot of extra hurried activity…. decorating, shopping, and socializing. The increased pace can cause additional stress on your mind and body.  And this is the time of year when most of us fall back into old habits of excess that could have long-term effects on our health.  Now is the time to train your brain and body for new empowering habits to avoid the guilt feelings of being out of control.

The mind is like a wild horse. If you try to control it, it will just get worse. If you let it be, it will settle down into its natural state of restfulness and calm. See this metamorphosis as it is in nature. The trees allow their leaves to fall so they can bring forth new ones in the spring for a new experience. Let go of overthinking, all the resistance, and allow the change to happen. It will renew your physical body with clean energy.

Relief from stress

When you close your eyes, you are not distracted by external happenings. Focus on your breathing and you won’t be thinking about anything else, and you won’t have any judgments or expectations about what might happen next.

Practice using relaxation techniques to balance your mind, body and spirit whenever you feel anxious or stressed. Practice now and by the time the golf season rolls around in the Spring you will have mastered the art of relaxing and centering within to perform at your best.

Take the time right now as you read this letter to inhale deeply through your diaphragm. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale twice as long as you inhaled, just the way you do when you blow out the candles on your birthday cake.  If you feel any tension in any part of your body, focus your attention there and allow the tension to move out as you exhale. Take three deep breaths in this manner and then notice the calm inside your body. Notice how you are now focused within instead of on the outer world’s activities.

Stress Management 

People deal with stress in different ways. A recent study at UCLA suggests that women respond to stress with a production of brain chemicals to make and maintain friendships with other women. The hormone oxytocin is released and buffers the fight or flight response and encourages women to tend children and gather with other women instead.  This calming response does not occur in men. They appear to deal with stress more effectively through exercise or escaping into their office to solve the problem.

  • Walking the golf course, or some other kind of exercise program is a fantastic way to deal with stress. Exercise helps you sleep. When you are not fatigued, you deal with stress more effectively. If your golf course is closed for the winter, this would be a good time to walk the course, imagining playing each shot to start programming your career round.
  • Breathe deeply to relieve stress. When people feel anxious, they unconsciously hold their breath. Take a few moments during the day to take three full, slow breaths, let it out slowly to release any stressful feelings. This is a good time to practice breathing in your golf swing while indoors. Inhale on your (imaginary) backswing, pause, and exhale on the downswing. Do this every day until it becomes a habit. In the Spring you will notice the increased distance!
  • Have a positive outlook on life. This will give you extra energy. Having a positive mental attitude is having a good spiritual connection. See the good side of everything you do and everything that happens to you. See the bigger picture and don’t get ensconced in the “small stuff”.  Write down what you like about golf. Write down a description of the kind of golfer that you would like to be.
  • Golf and life and are meant to be enjoyed. Golf can be a way to relax if you let go of expectations of not being good enough. Enjoy everything that you are doing in the moment. Practice being in the NOW.
  • Giving gifts is a tradition during the holidays. A Spiritual Law says, “Giving and receiving are the same.”  When you give a gift and it is well received, you receive the gift of pleasure in return. To increase your self-esteem, begin to acknowledge compliments with a heartfelt “thank you” instead of thinking you don’t deserve it, or judging the gift or its giver. On the golf course, accepting compliments into your heart from your foursome will keep you in a positive frame of mind.
  • Physical tension is a result of mental stress. Choose what will bring you joy. Catch yourself when you are experiencing the anxiety producing “what ifs.” Stay in the moment by focusing on enjoying what you are doing. When you are experiencing indecision, take a deep breath and go to your heart center and decide what is best for you. It is easy to give so much that you are no longer giving or helping and are experiencing anxiety or worry. Have you noticed that you do this on the golf course also?
  • Your body language reflects your state of mind. Develop an awareness of how you carry yourself, especially when you’re feeling stressed. Change your posture to a straighter alignment. If you do it, even if you don’t feel like doing it, you will feel better. It’s like smiling. Sometimes you smile because you are happy and sometimes because you want to be happy. Your speaking rate and style can also affect your mood and other reactions to you.
  • Recognize stress in all facets of your life. Learn to take control of your body and your reaction to stress and anxiety. Decide to live your life with the emphasis on the importance of relaxation, fun and pleasure. The more you relax, the better you feel.
  • Share your life with others in a meaningful way. All the great research, all the religions, all the philosophies indicate this is the root of happiness.
  • Be grateful and give thanks for all your blessings.


Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances 

Learn how to relax, focus in the moment, and enhance your mental golf game by listening to eight different self-hypnosis CDs/Mp3s in the privacy of your own home during the off season. Available at

If you have a question, or need help with your mental game, email Joan at or phone 828.707.5478 for a free consultation to learn about mental golf coaching in person, or world-wide by phone. Learn what is missing in your game so you can achieve the success you desire.



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