Life has gotten even more fast-paced than ever. Something I didn’t think possible twenty years ago when I was in my thirties, but I was very wrong.
Over time it takes its toll, as I experienced after many years in the corporate world. At times we simply just get used to the ‘daily grind’, often with some sort of collateral damage along the way, which we just put down to life and getting older.
Unless we do something intentionally to change it.
Sports were always my favourite way of spending my leisure time at the weekend after a hectic week at work.
I didn’t start playing golf and I’m sure many others didn’t because of its appeal as a get fit sport. The football pitch, swimming pool and sometimes the gym were the places that I got my weekly doses of aerobic and strenuous exercise to get the heart pumping and release the built up anxieties.
Over the years, my exercise levels, like many others have reduced. More through injury than anything else and my wife is more than happy that I don’t play contact sports anymore. So the lure of the fairways is even more appealing than it once was.
There have been many articles written on the health benefits of walking and golf isn’t merely a “good walk spoiled” as once commented by Mark Twain. There is also the time being out in the open and in nature that allows us to recharge our internal batteries, especially if you’ve been cooped up in an office all week long, suffering from a lack of exercise or need de-stressing from a hectic life called ‘life’.
Renewing and recharging our batteries are vital to our health and building our resilience, and golf is a great way to do just that. It’s how we renew and recharge that is of importance, as just having a weekend off from the working environment isn’t often really enough to counteract the stress and strain the mind and body is put under during the rest of the week.
Quality time spent doing things that allow the mind and body to re-energize and renew are key and golf is one of those for the reasons mentioned. However, there is a side to the beautiful game which many may not be aware of and can seriously affect your health if you’re not aware of it and how to counteract it.
Golf is both a physical and a mental game and can be one of the most frustrating games there is, even for those at the highest level, if we allow it.
Video emerged recently showing Sergio Garcia thrashing around in the sand at a tournament in Saudi Arabia after a poor bunker shot, as if he was trying to kill snakes, much to the amazement of his playing partners and the watching world.
This was a very rare occurrence for Garcia, but not for the average club or weekend golfer who spends all of his or her week in the office. Often by the time the chance to play golf arrives, they are quite literally chomping at the bit to get out, grip it and rip it and de-stress on the course.
Golf by its very nature, however, leads to perfection tendencies, which of course is flawed, as it is an imperfect game. The challenge of hitting a small white ball into a slightly bigger hole, can at times become too much mentally, even for the most talented of people and I’ve witnessed golf clubs being hurled into adjoining fields and broken in anger more than once.
Their planned weekend downtime suddenly becomes just a continuation of the weekly mental struggles and frustration, instead of being a source of relaxation, fun and enjoyment; all the things needed to re-energise and renew an overworked and stressed mind.
Self-awareness is important if we are to be able to recognise when things aren’t going to plan. When we feel ourselves starting to become tense and notice our anxiety levels rising is the time to simply stop and take a few slow deep breaths, as this will slow the mind down and has a calming effect.
If you can’t change it leave it.
Learning to develop an attitude of acceptance will also go a long way to preventing further mental anxiety and stress, and will help recharge those much-needed mental batteries, instead of adding more mental anguish to an already hectic life.
After all, we all started playing the game because it was fun in the first place.