The magic of humour – A path to better performance and wellbeing on the golf course

It may sound unusual, but it’s a fact: laughing can actually improve your performance, and not only that, it’s also beneficial for your health both mentally and physically.

When you trigger a good laugh, it involves a wide range of facial muscles, as well as muscles in your stomach and the rest of your body. In the brain, you release endorphins, which act as the body’s own morphine. In addition, signalling substances such as serotonin and dopamine, known as the body’s happiness hormones, are released.

Laughing is an amazing experience.

A good laugh also acts as a short-circuit for bad moods or negative experiences. The moment you laugh, you feel happy and your thoughts turn away from past problems or the distracting person who just shared a less-than-kind remark. Imagine something funny and let the laughter erupt.

When you use humour in the right way, it can help you change your perspective on a challenging situation. By simply looking at the situation with a twinkle in your eye, it suddenly looks completely different and becomes a fun and positive experience that lifts your mood.

There are several stress relief techniques, including:

– Problem-focused: Identify and solve the root of the problem causing stress.

– Meaning-focused: Understand the meaning behind what’s causing stress.

– Support: Seek support from friends, doctors and family to relieve stress.

– Emotion-focused: Find an emotion that can dispel stress, such as laughter.

– Alcohol: Don’t drink the stress away, but seek more healthy solutions.

Choose the solution that works best for you. For me, I choose laughter. While there may be other solutions after the golf game, I don’t analyse on the course. It takes too much energy as opposed to using my intuition.

You can read more about this perspective on intuition versus analysis on Mental Strategies, where there is a short section on Professor Daniel Kahneman’s analysis and conclusion in section 10.1. Use your brain in the best possible way.

Why don’t we laugh more when we play golf? It’s because we forget to laugh. We see it as a serious game where full concentration is required. But it only takes 2.5 minutes to hit the ball 5 times on a par 4 hole, out of the 10 minutes it takes to play the hole. The rest of the time, you don’t need to worry about golf; you just need to have fun. Relax and laugh. After all, it’s better than the opposite.