Take a few moments to reflect on a recent situation that created an exaggerated emotional trigger for you. Grab a pen and paper or open a document on your computer, and let's dive into the exercise step by step:
Identify the Precise Reaction: Start by describing the situation and the emotions it evoked. Be specific about how you felt, both emotionally and physically. For example, "I felt angry and my heart was pounding," or "I felt anxious and had a tightness in my chest."
Identify the Story Behind It: Explore the thoughts and beliefs that contributed to your reaction. Ask yourself, "What story am I telling myself about this situation?" Write down any negative self-talk or assumptions you made. For instance, "I believe they intentionally ignored me because they don't value my opinion."
Is It Still True? Challenge the accuracy and validity of the story you identified. Ask yourself, "Is this story still true?" Look for evidence that supports or contradicts your initial beliefs. Consider alternative explanations or perspectives. Write down any new insights or realizations.
Examine What Is Real in the Present Moment: Shift your focus to the present moment and observe what is happening objectively. Separate facts from assumptions or interpretations. What can you see, hear, or touch right now? Engage your senses and ground yourself in reality. Write down your observations.
Repeat: Repeat this exercise regularly, especially when you encounter similar triggers or notice recurring patterns. Over time, you may develop a deeper understanding of your emotional reactions and gain more control over them.
Remember, journaling is a personal and introspective practice. Be honest with yourself and allow your thoughts and emotions to flow freely. The goal is to increase self-awareness and challenge any limiting beliefs or negative stories that may be holding you back.