Make Your ‘Hold” and infuse it With the Emotions You Want

A lot of times we go out of our way to buy holds.  We often think if we just get that little widget, trinket, or snow globe when we’re in the souvenir shop at the aquarium we are guaranteed to remember all that had happened on that special day.  We believe this will ensure we have access to all of the wonderful emotions that came with it.  I wish that were true.  Really I do.  But objects are only as emotionally fused with joy, connection, confidence, and love as the emotions you infuse them with.  The only emotional conductor for anything is… 

Your Intention.

That’s actually the good news.  Because you don’t have to go out and buy some fancy souvenir to hold the emotion that you want.  To be honest, there isn’t a souvenir shop in the world that sells any objects that are already infused with emotions.  It is your intention that gives the object its ability to hold your emotions for you. 

For example, I ran a race a week ago.  I caught an amazing race time for 10 miles and there was a good amount of ‘pushing’ myself to get there.  I chose to use the t-shirt that I raced in to be my ‘hold’ for the race.  I’d love to say that I was above buying a souvenir race t-shirt.  But, in truth, the only reason why I didn’t get one was because I didn’t have $20 in cash on me at the starting line and I was too lazy to go back to the car…hard to believe when you consider I was getting ready to run a race.  No matter how the race went from a performance level, I knew that, since I hadn’t been able to race in a year and a half, I wanted a strong memory of it and all of the positive emotions that would come with it.  So, how did I create my hold and save myself the $20?

Create Your ‘Hold’ for Yourself

Ask Yourself: is this moment something I want to remember?  First, make sure the  moment is something you want to remember. It doesn’t have to have a special meaning to anyone but you.  Once you’ve decided that you are going to want the memories and emotions that are infused with an event or activity…

Choose an object, or mental object, you’re going to use for your hold.   Again, in the example above, I decided that I was going to use the t-shirt that I was wearing at the time — a blue beat up old Adidas shirt that basically just said ‘did s’ because both ‘A’s fell off.  It doesn’t have to be specific to the event or moment that you’re trying to remember and draw positive emotions from.  You can stop at Dunkin Donuts and grab a mug after the event if you’re dead set on buying a souvenir for yourself.  Or you can decide on something you already have with you (remember my rosary from my last blog!).  And, if you’re going to use a mental object, you could easily choose from the songs you listen to on the way to your event or back.

Infuse that object, or mental object with all of your intention.  This is a little bit tricky, so let me explain. It wasn’t like I was running the race, fully focused on the shirt I was wearing, saying over and over again, “This shirt will hold my emotions!”  First of all, I would not have been able to experience the moment at hand very well.  Secondly, ‘others’ probably would have chased me down and put me in an insane asylum. You want to be fully focused and immersed in whatever you’re doing so that you can be very present in your experience.  But, once in a while whether it’s a song, shirt, coffee mug, whatever, intentionally place your mind on it.  It will become associated with your task at hand.  Use all of your 5 senses to take in everything that’s going on around and within you. The smells, what things taste like, who you were with, how the weather was, how you were feeling.  The more specific the better.  If we’re talking about a mental object, you may find that this becomes a bull’s-eye for you so that the memory becomes very vivid whenever you hear a specific song or phrase.

Pick an item or two–those that have the strongest emotional pull for you. Take some time each day to pick up (or call to mind) the hold that you identified.  Let the emotions fill you up. Try to keep those emotions with you as you take action on your performance challenge, or even just when you try to contemplate that challenge. You’ll gradually notice that your ability to call those emotions up for yourself, and hold onto them will increase when you have an actual ‘hold’ to connect with them!

Try this today and let me know what you come up with!  You may have something you are doing right now, or maybe you create a hold from an event that you’ve done in days, months, or years past.  It’s never too late to create a hold, you just need to use your intention!

If you would like help lessening your fear and anxiety, reaching your goals, breaking habits, or creating new ones, I’d love to work with you.  Just click the button or the link below for a free consultation and let’s talk. 

Grab a “Hold” to Create Your Best Emotional State

There’s no freakin’ way! I didn’t say this out loud, but the thought screamed through my brain as I stared out over the dark, endless basin filled with water that I would be swimming in tomorrow morning for my first Ironman. It was going to be roughly a two and a half mile swim.  There was a 112 mile bike to follow, and that little matter of the marathon afterwards to consider. But, honestly, it was the swim that I dreaded.  

Looking over that dark water while I was picking up my race packet was scaring the bejesus out of me. A few of the athletes were looking out with me. My eyes shot back and forth from the water to them, trying to ascertain if they were just as freaked out as me. As I pondered this, I found myself nervously fiddling with the rosary that was in my pocket. Somehow it was soothing and seemed to calm me down a bit.

I had a habit of going to Sunday Mass and taking the little plastic rosaries that they have in a dish near the vestibule. I must have forgotten to take this one out the previous weekend and now I was using it as a holy ‘stress ball’. 

I had an incredible race performance the next day, doing better than I ever dreamed I would!  Having that rosary on me to fiddle with when I was nervous or anxious, races, before talks, workshops, any challenging situations, has become more than just a habit–it’s my ritual. It’s no longer just a source of comfort, it is also a source of inspiration. I can literally recall my entire race whenever I even look at my rosary now. That recollection comes in a tidal wave full of all the confidence and pride that I felt finishing that race, just flooding my senses.  

The crazy thing is I don’t even know how to say the rosary. In fact, let’s just get this straight, it’s really not about the rosary. It’s not about any world religion or philosophy. It’s certainly not about that fancy race t-shirt or medal that they’re going to give you at the end of the race (if you make it). It’s not about running out and buying yourself a lucky rabbit’s foot (if we’re honest with ourselves, you and I both know that rabbit wasn’t so lucky so how good could the foot be?). 

It simply comes down to the meaning you place on the object. Once you give meaning to an object it becomes a ‘Hold’. Quite literally this is something that, when you hold it in your hand physically or in your mind mentally, it triggers an almost instantaneous recall of the event and the emotions that accompany that memory. 

You probably already have ‘Holds’ already, some you know about and some you don’t. Think  about that worn out t-shirt that has more holes in it than swiss cheese.  Every time you even think about throwing it away you feel like you’re actually throwing away that first 5K you ran and all the pride you felt in it!  Likewise, you may have pictures around the house of relatives. So, every time you walk into the kitchen and see the picture that includes your annoying uncle, the memory of the time he burned all the burgers at the family reunion sneaks into your head, and you suddenly lose your appetite…without actually knowing why.

Objects and mental pictures can hold more than just sentimental value for us. They can hold the key to better overall performances when facing challenges that are dear to us, or even the ones that are brought to our doorstep. 

Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., in Psychology Today, described the relationship between past success and present performance.  She shares that by thinking about your past success, “you start feeling like you’ve really got something that makes you a successful person.”  A Hold can help you gain rapid access to your memories, enabling you to fast-track the infusion of emotions that you want.

How to identify if something is a ‘Hold’ for you?

Focus down on an object or memory of an object –  You really don’t have to hold it in your hand, but you do have to give it your attention. Really focus down on a particular object and see if a memory or specific feelings come up for you.  These can be anything at all, but they should really spring to mind! 

Now notice if a particular object or memory is emotionally charged –  Now if you’re looking around your house at the laundry basket, or deeply recalling the sandwich you had at subway 3 hours ago, it may not have a strong ‘emotional charge’. But, if you’re looking at a photo of your graduation, or your finish at your 5K, or son’s well-worn baseball glove and uniform, you will most likely feel the confidence and connection that is housing the memories of the ‘Hold’.

I have a friend who got a tattoo in honor of his father. Whenever he looks at that tattoo, he says it instantly calls to mind working with his dad and the ‘can do’ feeling his father instilled in him.

Start by taking a look at what you have to work with within the physical stuff that you already own, or memories of those things in your mind! Take some time to look around your home, your car, your workspace, anything that might actually give you that emotional charge that you’re looking for when you need your best overall performance. Likewise, consider trying to recall some of the memories of the most incredible things that you’ve done in your life. Things that you’re most proud of, to see if an emotional charge is housed within them.

Pick one or two of these items–those that have the strongest emotional pull for you. Take some time each day to pick up (or call to mind) the hold that you identified. Let the emotions fill you up. Try to keep those emotions as you take action on your performance challenge, or even just when you try to contemplate that challenge. You’ll gradually notice that your ability to call those emotions up for yourself, and hold onto them will increase when you have an actual ‘Hold’ to connect with them!

In the next blog we’re going to talk about actually how you can create your own Holds!

If you would like help lessening your fear and anxiety, reaching your goals, breaking habits, or creating new ones, I’d love to work with you.  Just click the button or the link below for a free consultation and let’s talk. 

Part 5: Visualization – Putting it all Together

By far the most important sense is our vision. We perceive up to 80% of all impressions by means of our sight. Basically this means we believe what we see.  The biggest mistake many of us make is believing that our sight comes from our eyes. The truth is our brains are what is actually formulating the images and making sense of those images. Our eyes take in the crude matter from the outside world, but our brains decide what it means. 

You want proof? Stare at any object in your room for five seconds, then close your eyes. Now allow yourself to bring that picture back into focus in your mind. How is that even possible? Your eyes are closed, but you see the image. That’s because, no matter how long ago you saw that image, it is now a memory housed away in your mind, to do with what you wish. In fact, that memory holds all of the senses from that moment in which it was created, giving the memory of what you saw as much depth, meaning, and purpose as you choose to give it.  

If you focus on that image in your mind long enough, you can generate emotions from it.

Over the last four blogs, we’ve gone over the power visualization has to help you create joy, confidence, connection, basically any emotion that you want. We discussed how you can use your imagination to amplify your memories, making those emotions like confidence, joy, and connection more potent and longer lasting.  How putting aside logic, reason, and most of all judgement, allows your imagination free reign to create an emotional state for yourself from scratch, no memory even needed!  And, finally, we learned if we do use a memory as a source to tap into for our emotions, how finding the ‘bullseye’ of that memory not only allows for quicker access to it, but also allows for us to navigate our entire memory enabling emotions become stronger, and last longer. 

But knowing this and doing it are two different things.  To quote one of my favorite movies (I’m actually seeing Gladiator in my mind now :),

The time for half-measures and talk is over...”   

Let’s ‘roll mental film’.  Let’s go through a memory that you have in your mind, and practice creating the emotion for yourself. If you have been following the vlogs or blogs, you should be pretty well practiced. If not, consider going back and checking out the last four, so you can get the most out of this!

 Aright, let’s roll ‘mental film’…

1. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for a few minutes – Find a quiet spot for yourself, a place where you can pretty much guarantee you won’t be disturbed for 5 minutes or so. Just focus down on your breathing. Notice where you feel it in your chest, what it feels like.  You can even count as you breathe if that’s easier for you.

2. Now bring that memory into your mind – Once you’ve centered yourself by counting your breaths, find the bullseye of the memory you chose that gives you the feelings that you want.  Notice, when you recall the memory, the first thing that comes into your mind.  Remember, your ‘entry point’ to this memory, the image you see, is the same every time you think of this memory.  That is your bullseye!  

3. Do a 360 around your memory – From that bullseye, roll mental film forward and take a look at what happened after that bullseye moment in your memory.  Sit with that, taking it all in from your five senses, really reliving it fully in your mind. When you’re ready, circle back and roll mental film backward, traveling into the past before you reached that bullseye moment.  Focus down on all the details you can using your five senses!  This creates a richer texture, ensuring the emotions you want gain substance and last longer.

Now that you have your memory in full focus…

4. Now amplify that memory with your imagination – No judgement zone.  No need for reason or logic either. While you are rolling film on that memory, let your imagination rip. If you are recalling a winning goal in your club soccer game, and your imagination creates a stadium around you filled with 50,000 people shouting your name, puts you in full gladiator armor, on your teammate’s shoulders as they cheer, ‘Spaniard!’, the ONLY thing you are interested in is if it amplifies the emotion you are looking for inside your body. If that is going on…then off to the coliseum for you!!! If not, layer on different imagery for yourself until you get that emotion you are looking for flowing fully through your mind and body.

Open your eyes and check in with yourself. Do you still feel this emotion inside you? Most likely some of it is still there. Our minds don’t differentiate between what has actually happened in our external environment, from what has happened inside of us. That’s why the emotions around our dreams feel so big and real long after we’ve opened our eyes! The deeper you focus down on your visualization, and the longer you practice this technique, the more consistently you’ll be able to generate the emotional state that you want for yourself.  

Try practicing this just for 5 minutes a day before going out for your run, making that call you’d rather not make, or even before heading into a job interview to settle your nerves, and to create those emotions you want beforehand. The more experience you give yourself through practice, the less energy this process will take, and the greater confidence you’ll have that you can create joy, confidence, connection, or any emotion you want as you go after any challenge you decide to take on for yourself, or is brought to your front door!