What do you do when you get uncomfortable? When the negative feelings nag you? Become aware of the negative emotion and name it. If you are already aware of what is bothering you, you are ahead of the game. But if you don’t, or if you want to double-check your guess, then do this: get to a place where you can be alone and quiet. Close your eyes. Rest in the fact that no one is watching, no one is accusing, no one is condemning. Breathe. After a few minutes, simply ask yourself, “What is causing this negativity in me?”

            And then listen. Don’t be surprised if the answer is not the one you thought it would be. Take several minutes to examine the picture or word that came up in your mind. Mentally match the picture or word with the name of a negative emotion. For example, the answer to the question “What is causing this negativity in me?” may be, “Memories of the car accident.”  Then pair the picture of the accident with its accompanying emotion: “Fear! I am afraid!”  When you can confidently identify the negative emotion with an accurate name, take a deep breath and let it out.

You have completed Step One. Identify the negative emotion.