There’s a pile of evidence that strategically engaging in gratitude practices can improve mood and performance. What better time of year than Thanksgiving to think about how to use gratitude strategically to enhance your golf game and your life. Yes, the holiday has passed, but you can always make room for a little bit of more gratitude.

There are a couple of important rules when it comes to using gratitude in a way that is useful. First, gratitude cannot be “toxic gratitude”. Stay away from using thoughts that diminish or discredit the hard parts of life. Sometimes things suck. And just because we want to be grateful doesn’t negate the fact that sometimes our circumstances are just trash. Healthy gratitude focuses on embracing what sucks and finding things to be grateful for in the midst of it. So let’s avoid things like “well it could have been worse” and shift to “that was awful and I’m grateful to have gotten through it. 

Second, gratitude should never be comparative. We want to stay away from things like “well, I don’ have is as bad as other people, so I should be grateful”. Gratitude should validate our own experiences and help us focus on any aspects we can find that feel good. We have to remind ourselves that our experience is real and sometimes it’s hard. It cannot be compared to others so let’s find what our takeaways of gratitude can be. 

This applies on the golf course as well. Hopefully you read last month about how we are what we think. So if we can track our thoughts and find things to be grateful for, no matter how good or bad things are going, we can begin to shift our whole mindset. 

Here’s a gratitude practice that you can begin incorporating in your golf game – and your life. Screenshot it for later…

The toughest thing that happened this round (or today) is….

Despite this tough thing, I am grateful for ___________________________ because _____________________________

I can carry this gratitude into the rest of my day by remembering….

Dr. Chelsi Day

Dr. Day is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is an Ohio native who completed her Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Health and Sport Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio while competing on the Varsity Swimming and Diving team as a diver. She then went on to earn a Master's degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology followed by a Master's degree and later a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH.