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Article: Practice - the RAIN meditation for anxiety

Practice - the RAIN meditation for anxiety

Practice - the RAIN meditation for anxiety

Practice - RAIN Meditation by Tara Bach


The RAIN technique by Tara Brach is an acronym that breaks down into 4 concrete steps to allow us to self-regulate during moments of anxiety, stress, or simply to have a basic "template" to use during our meditations. This brief practice can be done in less than 5 minutes at any time.

R = Recognize

The first step is to recognize what's happening. Observe our emotions, our state of mind, and recognize that a situation is making us feel anxious. In my opinion, 50% of the work is done after recognizing the discomfort inside us. We try so much to avoid and bury certain emotions or feelings of discomfort that it generally only grows in magnitude and then, we call it an “anxiety crisis.” But it's simply an accumulation of repressed feelings.

By opening our eyes to the source of our anxiety (family issues, fights with our loved one, a conflict at work, etc.), we position ourselves in solution mode more quickly.

Here are some questions to ask to “Recognize”:

  • What's happening inside me right now?
  • Which sensation are you most aware of?
  • What emotions?
  • Am I mentally preoccupied? If yes, by what?

A = Allowing (accept)

The second step is to accept the situation. To let go. We must remember that we are not our emotions. The situation makes us feel a certain way, that’s it. We feel the emotions, they make us feel uncomfortable, but under no circumstances should we associate ourselves with them. We must mentally repeat to let things go, not to resist.

A phrase that personally helps me in stressful situations is: “I can't control anything right now, there’s no point in resisting, let it go” or, “it will pass, just observe.” - positioning oneself in "observer" mode.

I = Investigate 

Then, we need to ask the right questions to find the source of this discomfort by directing our attention towards ourselves. Be attentive to our body, our mind, how we feel physically and mentally – be present. (We tend to be hit by a situation without really seeking why this situation affects us. We lose our means, developing mechanisms to “cope” with a stressful situation instead of addressing the problem.

Here are several questions to ask:

  • What's the worst thing about this situation?
  • Where is my attention naturally directed?
  • What emotions are surfacing?
  • Which thought hurts me the most?
  • Is this a familiar feeling?
  • Where is the most uncomfortable in my body?

N = Nurture

The last step is to show compassion for oneself, in other words: Give yourself some love!

Take the time to feel what we need the most at the moment. Like when we take care of a friend or a loved one, we show compassion, comfort, without judgment. – Verbal comfort, physical, or simply a mental representation of a warm and comforting moment. This step is personal to each individual. (Why is it so difficult to do this for ourselves? Personally, it’s a step that I tend to “overlook” and not allow myself the necessary time to properly digest, assimilate a situation.

Treat yourself like you were a friend who needs help.

Hoping that this little excerpt can help you equip yourself when needed during stressful moments or more difficult periods.

For more information about this technique, I invite you to consult the complete article here:  RAIN MEDITATION  

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