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Once we have observed ourself and noted our emotional responses to various situations, we can then begin to analyze those emotions more fully. Keeping notes is a useful task at this point (frankly, keeping notes is always a useful task) for our mind may avoid those areas which need a closer look if we rely solely on the memory. Previously the student has been encouraged to note emotions and the situations in which they arise. Now we must take each of these occurrences and look into the past, analyze what it is about our past that triggers a particular response, and come to an understanding of that emotion. Using your past notes, or ones which you begin to keep now, pick a single moment. Perhaps you have a tendency to become tense and irritable when standing in the check-out line at the store.

The next step in tracing this emotional response’s history is to reflect on other areas in your life which were operating at the same time as the emotion occurred. Perhaps stress over school or work is manifesting in the store. Even if something from the present indicates where these feelings of tension and irritation come from, reflect on past occurrences. Check your notes. Think about your life and the things happening at times when tensions and irritations arose.

Perhaps it is a result of always being the last in line for lunch in early school years. Perhaps it is the way adults around you modelled “check-out line behavior”. There are many possibilities. Write down anything which you feel approaches true reasons for why these emotions manifest within you now. Once you have identified that certain situations bring out certain responses, and you understand why it happens, then you can move on to the next stage in your journey.