By Dr Nicola Brough (MPhil, PhD, RCST)

After a year of being in isolation and our children being off school, COVID-19 has been a stressful situation for us all and the repercussions are yet to be seen.

Is your child feeling ready to reconnect?  Are you? All transitions bring about anxiety on some level.  When anxiety arises, or we have low mood, our mental health and physical health may need a boost.  When we are experiencing stress, our bodies do not function optimally, and we can feel dis-regulated and out of sorts.

After 12 months of restrictions, we are all seeking ways to free ourselves and to get back to doing those activities that we love.  When we do things, we love we are usually feeling more connected to ourselves, others, and the environment. For novices and more experienced golfers alike, I am sure that the thought of getting back on the course has been keeping you sane.

I must confess that I am not a golfer, so why would you want to read my article?  Because I understand that we are connected by a field of energy that connects us all, including nature. Evidence suggests that when we are in nature our autonomic nervous system synchronise with the geomagnetic fields of earth. Nature is a great healer.

I am also a mum of two daughters. When I am out in nature with my daughters, what I notice is the way we relate changes, this is because we all relax, the girls become more open to relating to me and vice versa.  It is as if our energy expands and makes us more available somehow.

When I was thinking about why people might choose to play golf, I thought about being in nature and being with others, I came up with this acronym.

G-great

O-outdoors

L-listening

F-friendship

Then I was thinking about what talents a skilful golfer would have and apart from the desire to undertake lots of practice and training, what innate abilities do people have that contribute to the ability to play well?

Thinking about our seven senses: seeing; hearing; smelling; tasting; touching; breathing (we regulate ourselves using our breath); and proprioception.  Proprioception is defined as the perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body.  Using our seven senses, we have everything we need to function optimally, and these senses are soothed when we are in nature.

Most of us have experienced the state of feeling present, open and in joy, termed cardiac coherence or psychophysiological coherence by scientists at the US based Heartmath Institute. Psychophysiological coherence is when more coherent heart rhythms naturally emerge due to positive experience, or through the self-activation of positive emotions. When we are coherent and present, we are in the best state to communicate with others, it allows an effortless exchange or flow between two people or a group of people.

This coherent state is also termed ‘being in the zone’ or ‘focussed’ this state of being is when we are at our most creative, feel inspired and can perform at our best.  So why is being coherent relevant to golf?

For the more mature readers amongst you, you may recall the film ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’ released in 2000 starring Matt Damon, Will Smith and Charlize Theron.  In the movie a frustrated golfer gets sage advice from his caddy. He learns to connect with his “authentic swing” and feel the underlying unity between every aspect of the field or one could say he ‘feels at one with nature’.  This is our natural state of being, open, receptive, and connected.

What I believe this movie demonstrates to us, is that we too can tune to the field and ‘know’ when it is the right time to make the swing.  We are innately intuitive, especially children.

So, whether it is your love of the great outdoors, your ability to listening deeply refining your skills and mastering your swing to reduce your handicap, or the friendships you have with members at your local golf club, know that your shared experience will enhance your coherence.

In my day job, I support people to feel good and function well. Mostly I use craniosacral therapy (CST). CST has its origins in Osteopathy.  It is a hands-on technique that integrates the body-mind and supports the body’s own healing mechanisms. It can assist the body to become coherent and helps with regulation. It is a way of working that offers a different perspective, gentle touch and one that bodies appreciate. Outcomes of importance identified by clients who undertake CST are categorised as mind, body, spirit and social relational wellbeing. CST is an opportunity for you to stop and reset, it is a way to connect with yourself in a gentle and quiet way. Children respond particularly well to this way of working.

If you have some concerns about how the effects of lockdown may have affected you or your children or want to get your own anxiety under control or improve your swing, then CST may be for you.

Dr Nicola Brough is a researcher interested in patient experience and patient reported outcomes, a complementary medicine practitioner and has been supporting families using bodywork and energy methods for almost 20 years.  She works with a team of associates that can offer a holistic approach to foster wellbeing from her clinic in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.  For further information visit www.toruswellbeingclinic.co.uk  or email: info@toruswellbeingclinic.co.uk