What is stress?
We all are dealing with it every day, but how would you define it?
I like this definition for general purposes, “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances”.
But I also like to think when you exercise you put stress on your body.
During any exercise there is an external stimulus (a stressor) causing stress to your body. Whether it be a band, or dumbbell, a barbell, your trainer, or any other numerous pieces of gym equipment.
This is the reason we rest our bodies after we workout to recover from the stress we place on it.
It goes to reason that we should also put the same kind of effort into our mental recovery from stress. It could be from something that happened at work, at home, or even while you were out on the golf course. Stress comes in many different forms and you have to make sure to take the time to recover.
I was talking to a client of mine who was playing in a few tournaments recently. He would play 3 to 4 rounds in 2 to 3 days. Every weekend this happened for 3 weeks straight. The day before the tournaments started we put him through a training session meant to increase his mobility and prepare his body for the days ahead. He would play great the first and second rounds, but by the third round he was exhausted. I know he did proper warm ups, took time to stretch, ate properly, and slept well. What was missing? It was mental fatigue. He would stress himself so much while on the course trying to be great that he would have nothing left for the final rounds.
How did we remedy this?
It wasn’t easy because instead of letting go of how he played that day, he would go home and run the round he just played over and over again. I had to get him to stop. Just stop. Stop thinking about how he played that day. Stop thinking about how he would play the next. Stop worrying about anything and sit.
Sitting still can be very hard for many of us. I know it is even for me. I am someone who likes to fidget. One way I suggested to help him sit and clear his head was meditate. Many people see that word meditate and get all kinds of weird thoughts in their head about what it is or what it is supposed to me. How about changing that word out and think breathe? I had him sit down stare at a wall or close his eyes. Then he had to take 10 deep breaths. Then after that he had to continue to breathe while he did his post round stretching.
The next time he played this many rounds he took his time to clear his mind very seriously. After the last round of the weekend he wasn’t completely mentally exhausted and played a good round. A little effort to clear the mind can go a long way.
Here are some other great ways to help yourself deal and recover from the stressors in your life.
Deep Breathing – take practice but worth the time, making sure to breath through your diaphragm and not your shoulders
Exercise – many people find that lifting some weights or going for a run can be a great way to clear your mind
Maintain Perspective – if you rationalize everything going on around you it will be easier to deal with stress, letting too much emotion in can hinder your ability to let the stressor go
Create a Routine – daily routines in life make things easier, finding a way to create a daily or weekly routine out of something will lower the stress that it causes since you will have taken the guess work out of it