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Being “Relaxed” Versus Being “Calm” (They Are Different!)

Here’s our next post from Paul Dewland, seasoned pro-golf Coach  from Core Golf Academy! Today he’s looking at the difference between  being ‘calm’ and being ‘relaxed” and how to make both states work for you.


I often hear people use the words “relaxed” and “calm” interchangeably, but there is an important difference between them. Knowing this difference is very useful in golf, work and life in general.

Relaxation is an important state, where a person has minimal expenditure of physical, mental and emotional energy. This allows our remaining energy to be used for restoration, much like sleeping at night to recover from the day’s work only – which also prepares us for the next one. During this state, our attention may drift, much like a creative daydream but it may also be under our control doing something simple and enjoyable. This is ideal for recovery and restoration, but not optimal for performance.

It is useful to know that tension is the opposite of relaxation. Tension is an excessive expenditure of mental and emotional energy that literally tenses our body. It’s similar to driving down the road in your car with the brakes on – massive energy use, minimal return on that investment.  Our attention is typically out of our control – scattered, random and we are often processing several tasks and/or thoughts at the same time. We are also typically placing our attention on things that we do not directly control.

Calm is a working state, from which good performance can happen. In this state we have optimal and efficient expenditure of mental, emotional and physical energy – not too high, and not too low for the task at hand. Here our attention is mainly placed on our present-moment activity, we are focused on the things that we have direct control over, and have minimal attention given to the past or future.

When we can control our attention, we basically control our life. This plays a significant role in determining the emotional states we experience, our productivity and our stability. When our attention is in our control, we can choose to deliberately engage in either Relaxation or Calm wherever appropriate – and maybe more importantly, to avoid tension.

Herein lies a significant benefit of meditation and Muse: it is the key means to develop this important skill of controlling our attention, and Muse accelerates this development over regular meditation. Those who “Choose Muse” and practice regularly strengthen their to choose the states they experience, and having this choice gives us confidence in just about any situation. I can’t think of a nicer way to play golf, work and live.

 Click here to learn more about Core Golf Academy.

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