This exercise is to help you make connections between your emotions and how you react to them. Our behaviors are impacted by our stress.

Choose a moment in your life that was especially difficult. This could be any number of instances. For example, when your loved one received a diagnosis... when you got a confusing letter from the health insurance company... or when you had to put their needs before your own...

Sit for 3 minutes and reflect on this time. Set a timer if you need to.

Write down every emotion that surfaces for you as they come up.

Now, take the next 3 minutes to reflect on this instance.

This time, write about how you acted – or reacted – to it.

Use a blank page in a notebook, the notes on your phone, or our template below. Here is an example...


becoming aware:

An exercise for connecting our emotions and our behaviors…

Step 1: A moment that was difficult due to my loved ones’ illness/disability…

Our family had plans to go on vacation last summer but our son ended up needing an unexpected medical procedure related to his condition.

Step 2: The emotions that come up as a result of this moment…

  • Sad (that my son has to live with this condition)

  • Guilty (that this took away the vacation from our daughter)

  • Frustrated (that we had to cancel and this type of thing happens frequently)

  • Angry (that our daughter can’t see how difficult this is for our son)

  • Tired (from sitting at the hospital and waiting for news from the doctor)

Step 3: The behaviors I expressed as a response to this moment…

  • I screamed at the hotel receptionist on the phone when he told me we couldn’t get a full refund on the hotel rooms

  • I went into the pantry and ate a bunch of junk food

  • I snapped at my daughter when she told me that my son was ruining her life.