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Manage your emotions and manage your game

By learning to manage your emotions - the heart of the inner game - you'll give yourself the best chance for extended periods of optimum play. That should come as no surprise to you. Here are some tried and true methods that we've learned from the mental games of Tour players that you can use to maximize the management of your emotions.

While positive emotions like excitement and dynamic energy make possible trusting swings, difficult stretches of play are influenced by the onset of negative emotions. Because negative emotions come unannounced - anger doesn't signal it's eminent arrival - they can flood your senses without warning and block strategy decisions as surely as they can trusting swings.

An effective plan is to allow negative emotions, (anger, fear, frustration, anxiety) that interfere with your game, to come into awareness, then let the emotions pass. By recognizing a negative emotion when it arrives - I'm frustrated - you can decrease its intensity, change its direction, and limit its duration. That might be a little scary, but while you really can't control the onset of a negative emotion you surely have a choice as to how long you allow it to last.

Conversely, when positive emotions such as dynamic energy and excitement become an integral part of you pre-shot routine and a calm state in between shots, you've magnified your opportunities for trusting play. By allowing negative emotions to pass and positive emotions to surface and stay, are important steps toward focusing your mind in present time awareness in preparation for each shot.

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