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Mindful Techniques for Difficult Feelings

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Posted: 27 October 2016
Made popular by mindfulness teacher and author Tara Brach, RAIN is a meditation technique used to deal with difficult emotions. The acronym itself stands for the four steps of the process; Recognise, Allow, Investigate, and Non-identification. To practice RAIN, one focuses the attention on whatever thoughts or feelings are arising in that moment, and recognises them for what they are, for example, anxiety.

Rather than struggling with or trying to avert the feeling, one simply allows it to be, accepting that it is there. This is a technique used in many mindfulness meditations and encourages acceptance and the ability to be in the present moment. Investigate refers to enquiring in oneself – always with an attitude of kindness and self-compassion – as to where the feeling or thought comes from.

What sensations arise in the body? What images come to mind? What other thoughts or feelings arise as a result? Much insight can often be gained through this process. It may also tap into underlying negative core beliefs or emotions such as shame and guilt, which is why the self-compassion is crucial.

The final step in the process, non-identifying, refers to keeping an attitude of detached awareness, knowing that though these feelings and thoughts exist you are not them, and they do not mean you are inherently negative or flawed. This cultivates as expansive awareness where you no longer define your concept of self by your thoughts and emotions.
Written by: Kelly Palmer MBCT
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