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Hold That Thought

A 'Mood' Shifting Self-Awareness Exercise

Do you ever get triggered into a negative state of mind where a web of dark emotions seem to take over?

You might recognise feeling:

  • Angry
  • Frustrated
  • Numb
  • Cold
  • Blunt
  • Sad
  • Depressed

And how does all this negativity affect your relationship?

Not so good right?

Let’s take the reigns back!

Does time seem to disappear when you are feeling like this?

man distant

In this exercise you will strengthen the neural pathways of your brain to help:

  • Raise your self-awareness
  • Attain focus on the positive aspects of any given situation
  • Prevent your mood slipping toward the old negative state
  • Reinforce a positive, solution focused frame of mind
  • Feel good / feel better.
  • Respond better to your emotions as they arise.

One way to think about this exercise is like training in the gym. We do physical exercise to build up our fitness for the real world.

With this concept in mind let’s get into it.

17 Seconds of Focus


Notice what pleases you. It could be an object, an activity, someone you love, whatever it may be, Hold your attention on it for 17 sec.


Notice your improved feeling. Hold it. Focus on the joy, and emotions this brings. Can you name them?


Choose another pleasing object of attention. Hold it for 17 seconds, and embrace the positive emotions it brings.

positive thoughts
What do I notice when I focus my attention on something good?

Exploring Your Emotional Self Awareness

What did you feel when you focused on your pleasing object?

Get to know your emotions in greater detail with the emotions wheel.

Everyday Benefits

Knowing your range of emotions in more detail is a large part of living mindfully and being self-aware.

It’s an important skill to learn and know, and is very helpful in repairing relationships, and changing your ways from dark or destructive patterns of behaviour.

This skill helps you stay grounded and shift away from the ‘negative range’ of emotions into a variety of positive emotions and positives mindsets including:

  • Joy / Content / Playful
  • Confident / Empowered / Free
  • Love / Gratitude / Trust
  • Passionate / Enthusiastic / Creative
  • Happy / Optimistic / Resilient
  • Helpful / Supportive / Creative

Imagine how this new awarness and ability could benefit you and your relationship?

Really, Imagine it right now.

It’s the difference between ‘flipping out’ and being ‘down’ all Sunday (your day off to relax and enjoy); versus, being slightly annoyed at something minor and remaining upbeat and ‘chilled’ for your relaxing Sunday.

What will it mean for your marriage?

How will spending more positive quality time benefit your relationship?

The secret is to practice the exercise and build the muscle. Just like going to the gym.

Keep up the Momentum

The longer you focus on things that feel good, and the longer you maintain it – brings other ‘good feeling’ thoughts.

This process strengthens the neural pathways in your brain, training your brain to focus on positive and pleasing thoughts while at the same time deactivating any negative thoughts and resistance.

With consistent practice you will gradually and naturally become accustomed to automatically focusing on the positive aspects of any situation.

head gears

It's Not Working?

  • Give it time. Practice patience.
  • You are creating an exaggerated state of ‘allowing’ and opportunity. If you can’t get to the ‘feeling good emotions’ stage during the exercise, start with aiming to feel ‘open to new possibilities’ or say to yourself “I’m willing to feel something different”… and listen to your body.
  • If you don’t feel momentum, try choosing a longer time frame to focus, or on something else that brings you joy.
  • Continue trying and keep going.
  • Take a break and try again at a later time.

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