Tara de .T, BA, M.Psi

28 September 2016

Golf As A Stress Reliever

Regular exercise, even moderate like golf, is an effective way to keep your mind away from food and reduce stress.

Nowadays, stress levels are increasing, especially for those living in capital cities such as Jakarta. There are many factors that contribute to stress, such as work and career competition, financial problems, and traffic. A slight amount of stress can help us become more motivated in dealing with life issues. However, if stress is not managed it can lead to many problems. Moderate to high intensity stress can cause psychological problems and disorders ranging from anxiety, depression, sleep and eating disturbances, to schizophrenia.

Unfortunately not many people have the access, time, or knowledge of the right methods to treat their stress. One of the easiest ways to overcome stress for many people is by using food as their source of happiness and stress reliever. Why? Because food is everywhere. It is easy to get, the prices vary from cheap to expensive, and eating food has become a lifestyle.

Because of those reasons, many people have become emotional eaters, a condition where people eat high-calorie, high-carbohydrate food with low nutritional value in response to stress. If untreated, emotional overeating can cause obesity, problems with weight loss, and even can lead to food addiction.

There are actually many fun, healthy, and positive ways to release stress. One of them is by exercising. A study from University of Maryland found that moderate exercise, such as playing golf, may reduce existing anxiety and help protect people against future anxiety and stress. Moderate exercise like golf was also more effective than quiet rest at reducing anxiety.

There are a few reasons that explain why golf is a good method for dealing with stress:

  1. Going back to nature gives a sense of relaxation. Being with nature can clear our mind and distract us from our problems. In fact, a study from The Green Exercise Research Team at the University of Essex found that being expose to nature improves psychological health by reducing stress levels, enhancing mood and self-esteem, and offering a restorative environment which enables people to relax, unwind, and recharge their batteries.
  2. People suffer from stress usually exclude themselves from their friends. They avoid seeing their friends and need time alone. However, rather than excluding themselves, people who are stressed need a supportive environment. People under stress require the presence of others to give them support. Playing golf can toughen and beat the sense of loneliness. It allows us to share stories and get positive feedback from others in a relaxing and unconditional environment.
  3. Physical activity can reduce stress. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins. Endorphins are a chemical in the brain that acts as natural painkillers. They can improve our ability to relax, sleep, and also reduce stress.
  4. Playing golf takes concentration. If we keep our mind on something that is engaging and exciting it can distract us from thinking about our problems. Not only that, having a sense of achievement about something like finishing the game can boost our self-esteem and confidence in dealing with our everyday problems.

In conclusion, rather than using unhealthy ways of reducing stress, playing golf can be a positive option to combat stress. Playing golf is a combination of relaxation from being in nature, having a supportive environment by making friends with other people, having a touch of good competition to increase our self-worth, and getting our body fit to support our positive mind.

Playing golf once is enough to combat a pile-up of stress from the week and get your energy back to face the week ahead. 

By Tara de Thouars, BA, M.Psi

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