Here are some useful techniques.
Try to understand the dynamics of your difficult response. If it is not easy to find clarity, look to your dreams for help. Ask for a guiding dream or take it into a lucid dream and seek the cause. For instance a woman radio researcher was offered the job of presenter, but was on the verge of refusing. She dreamt an air raid attack was taking place and she jumped into a ditch to hide. From the dream she realised she was scared of being out in the open – in public view and possible criticism. This enabled her to deal with the anxiety.
So when you clarify the situation, take time to talk to yourself as if to a child or animal. Explain why the reaction takes place and a way of moving beyond it.
Carefully look through your dream journal and take note of recurring themes. Possible themes are – love – satisfying or otherwise; looking for something; running to or from something; trying to find your way; hiding; being trapped; starting something; building or renovating; relationship; being with others; being alone; leaving things or people behind; death; birth; growth; fear; digging, and so on.
Take one theme at a time and work with each of the dreams expressing that theme. Because it recurs it suggests there is a habitual response involved. So imagine yourself in the dream you are working with and create a different end. Rework the dream so it is more satisfying. For instance if you are always passive in your dreams, imagine yourself being more dynamic and forceful. If you are always relating to unsatisfying men/women, change the dream to one in which you gain satisfaction.
As you work in this way, carry on until you see a shift in the dreams you experience while asleep. Also, aim to become lucid in each of the dream themes and search for the roots of the habit and how to change it.
This next technique is incredibly life changing. But it has to be made into a habit by using it frequently until it becomes active in the background of your waking and sleeping life. If you do not have time for the other approaches simply use this one.
Start by imagining there is a mirror within you. This mirror is your awareness or consciousness. The things you think or feel are images that pass across that mirror and for a while have existence in it, but they all shift and go. Only the mirror remains. When this is fairly clear, sit and watch what is in the mirror of your awareness.
Notice if it is a thought, a feeling, a body sensation, or a memory. Give each one a name such as – This is an opinion, this is a thought (such as an image of something you have seen) – this is an emotion – this is from something I read – this is a conjecture about an experience, and so on.
As you get used to this, imagine standing in the midst of your dreams. Use one at a time. Hold onto the sense of your naked awareness being something that is not the images that play upon it. As you review each dream say to yourself, “These dream people and images depict passing emotions and thoughts. I will realise this while I sleep and transform frightening or unsatisfying dreams. I will remember myself as the shining mirror.”