This is the fifth in a six-part series giving a brief overview of How to Become an Emotional Detective.
While most detectives look for clues outside of themselves, Emotional Detectives look for clues within.
Focussing your attention inward will help you unravel the mysteries of your emotional life. The clues you will be following are your own emotional responses. It's like applying a magnifying glass to your own reactions so that you can see yourself better.
1) Write down your dreams in as much detail as you can. Be sure to include how you felt in the dream and how you felt when you awoke. Make note of the date of the dream and significant events that directly preceded it. Remember that an event can be something that is occurring in the outside world, or it can be something that is going on in your mind or body.
2) Keep track of your intense or bizarre emotions. Make note of events that preceded your seemingly inappropriate emotions. This knowledge may help you discover your idiosyncratic emotional triggers, clues to the source of your emotional confusion.
3) It is especially critical to take note of emotions that may be missing. To do this, write down instances when it might seem natural to have strong emotions, yet when you seem to have have none (e.g. if you are not sad when suffering a loss or frightened when threatened with danger). Notice when you feel "out of it", or numb, or empty and jot down some notes about what was going on beforehand.
The other five posts in this series are: Becoming an Emotional Detective, The Right Attitude, Could David Brooks be an Emotional Detective?, Special Challenges for An Emotional Detective, What is a Private Eye?