Believe it or not, everyone can learn to control their own internal response to things that previously triggered anger; to learn to control their body rather than letting it control them. To learn to slow their body down rather than letting it speed up. The purpose of anger management is to learn how to change the way you react to your “anger triggers”. You can’t change external events, but you can change your emotional and physiological reactions to them.
You can use hypnotic suggestion, NLP techniques and positive visualization to assist in controlling your anger. Firstly, it is important to learn to relax. This is easy if you know how, but difficult if you don’t. You can be taught simple relaxation which you can practice regularly, thereby “bringing you down” a level or two, and so less likely to respond to anger triggers. You can learn to relax quickly and easily whilst on the golf course; you have the ability to relax just as quickly as you have the ability to get yourself wound up.
Secondly, it is necessary to explore the way in which you think and learn how to change that. Angry people tend to speak in raised voices, swear, move jerkily, etc. They see big pictures in their minds eye (usually in dramatic Technicolor) of what they don’t want to happen (“I know it’s going into those trees”) and respond to this self-created image. Angry people tend to talk to themselves with nasty, aggressive voices and chunter away to themselves about the unfairness of things (“why is it my ball that’s always lost?”), or how life is against them, or how unlucky they are. You can learn techniques that will enable you to turn the volume down on these internal voices, speak in a nicer tone and to see nicer pictures in your mind’s eye; i.e. to change your instinctive response to these triggers.
It’s also worth exploring whether your overall belief system in flawed. For example if you believe that you “always” have bad luck or that such and such “never” comes your way, you will not notice when things are going well, on or off the golf course; You’ve programmed yourself to only see the bad. And when bad things happen, you’ve visualized your own angry response, etc. Thus, it is important to explore and alter wider belief structures about yourself and your world.
Anger is often induced by very real problems and frustrations. If you have a belief structure that says you can handle anything no matter how bad it is, you will respond positively to the situation, and get on with the task of taking your next shot, without becoming angry. You will therefore stop the tendency to jump to negative and inaccurate conclusions. If, on the other hand, the belief structure of “nothing ever works for me” comes into play, angry feelings are triggered and the result is negative in every way – you feel angry, stopping yourself from thinking straight, and then make poor strategy choices and then who knows where the golf ball will end up? The problem simply becomes compounded.
One’s expectations must be examined. Are they realistic? Many angry people simply expect too much or want something “right now” and then get angry when the impossible doesn’t materialize. It is important to restructure such expectations and give them a “reality check”. Do you expect every shot to be perfect? The pros don’t expect that. Do you expect to play golf on a Saturday morning, after a few beers on Friday night, no practice in the week and hit every ball perfectly? If so, it’s time to run that reality check for yourself!
A feeling of inadequacy or insecurity is frequently the heart of the problem. (A fear that you’re not good enough, for example). This feeling is then redirected (either consciously or subconsciously) into the emotion of anger, as this angry feeling prevents you from feeling hurt. Thus it is important to change this belief structure as well; to feel that you are good enough in every way. Anger may also really be directed at oneself, but projected outwards onto another person or object.
Balance is of course the goal state to be achieved. Positive strategies towards real problems need to be learned, as do positive beliefs about yourself. The good news is that you are not born angry. This is a learnt response and so it can be unlearned and replaced with a different strategy which works for you, instead of against you.
It’s up to you to decide. Do you want to stop “Basiling”, to learn to stop being angry on the golf course and to enjoy your golf from now on?
Roseanna Leaton, specialist in golf hypnosis cds and hypnosis mp3 downloads.