Using Mindfulness to Cope with Difficult Emotions
Part of the Mindfulness For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)
We all have bad days; some are worse than others. When emotions become overwhelming, you can use this RAIN formula to help manage your feelings in a mindful way:
R – Recognise the emotion you’re feeling. Name the emotion in your mind if you can.
A – Accept the experience you’re having. Yes you probably don’t like the feeling, but the reality is the emotion is here at the moment.
I – Investigate. Become curious about your experience. Where do you feel the emotion in your body? What kind of thoughts are going through your mind?
N – Non-identification. See the emotion as a passing event rather than who you actually are, just as different images are reflected in a mirror but are not the mirror. Different emotions arise and pass in you, but are not you, yourself. The most powerful step is non-identification. Have the attitude ‘anger is arising and will soon pass away’ or ‘sadness is coming up in me, and at some point will dissolve’.
Sometimes you just need to do one step, whereas at other times you may want to work through the whole formula. Practise using the formula whenever you can, so when things become challenging for you, you’ll find it easier to use.