How to Stop Thinking
A coach asked me to write a tip to help his players stop thinking about the outcome when faced with a slightly downhill 1 meter putt. Thinking about the outcome causes his players to look up too soon or not follow through on their putting stroke and miss the putt. He felt his players might listen if this advice came from someone else instead of their coach.
The best way to stop thinking about the outcome is to stop thinking period. Without any thoughts you are free to play without any negative emotions to cloud your gut feelings and instincts.
You can write a very philosophical book about why and how to stop thinking. To keep this brief, let's get to the essence of the issue. Our minds love to think. Our egos identify with our thoughts. We believe our thoughts give us control over the outside world.
However, Zen masters and enlightened individuals know that non-thought allows them to be one with the universe and function at a very high level. Golfers who have been fortunate to play in the zone know from experience that thinking immediately takes them out of the zone.
You cannot think your mind into stop thinking because in the process you give your mind more food for thought. The only alternative is to just stop thinking, which to the unaware goes against their worldview.
You can minimize your thoughts by focusing solely on your breathing or seeing the ball being hit. Through meditation you can train your mind to stop thinking, but it is very hard to play golf with your eyes closed. What I have found that works extremely well for me is to focus solely on my target and just stop thinking.
The way I trained my mind to stop thinking was by having a very thorough understanding of how my unconscious operates and using the Daily Affirmation. During the process of doing my best to always tell the truth and eliminate all negative emotions, I was forced to stop thinking and witness all of my thoughts and actions.
After many years of using the Daily Affirmation to train my mind to select only the emotions that I chose to go on my unconscious, I found that I could literally stop thinking if I wanted to. Instead of being angry or having fear, I can now just stop thinking and be totally in the present.
It takes time and effort to train your mind to stop thinking, but it can be done. By making the Daily Affirmation a priority in your life, you will learn how to stop thinking and optimize your chemistry, which will allow you to play in the zone on a frequent basis.
P.S.: Do you feel nervous on the first tee? Do you feel under pressure sometimes when putting to win? Are shots over water a problem for you? Then this problem can be a mental one. Here is a program that I can recommend to help you overcome it: The mental side of golf