A couple of years ago, I discovered a 4-step mindfulness process that offers support for difficult days.
It’s called RAIN (which is an acronym for the 4 steps of the process).
Here are the 4 steps in brief
R ?? Recognise – what is happening.
A ?? Allow – life to be just as it is.
I ?? Investigate -your experience.
N ?? Non-Identify – detach.
Here’s how you can use the RAIN method in a difficult time…
Pause to Ponder & take a step back and observe the emotions or thoughts that are bothering you.
Perhaps you’re upset with your boss, your partner, or your kids. First, just name the emotions that you are feeling, perhaps ‘annoyance’ ‘overloaded with juggling hybrid working,’ or “didn’t like how the children’s school handled that’
These emotions should be treated without judgement as good or bad, just a neutral noticing providing you with the realisation “oh, so that’s what I was feeling.”
Often enough, this step alone can provide some relief in the form of knowing exactly what’s going on in your own mind.
‘A’ could stand for multiple other words, like ‘acknowledge or allow,’ but the main idea is that you should recognise that the difficult emotion you’re experiencing right now is your reality.
The emotions shouldn’t be pushed under the carpet, ignored or denied or left to fester there until they surface in a unwelcome moment.
Instead, put these emotions front and centre in your mind and say “yes, this is how I’m feeling” without attempting to change it.
This may be unpleasant, but remember to be kind to yourself – no unnecessary self-criticism!
Just sit with the emotion & accept it.
Try to approach your thoughts with an attitude of curiosity and ask yourself questions about the emotions you’ve been experiencing:
How did this start?
What triggered it?
Have I felt this way before?
Is there a pattern, a place or a circumstance that brings this up for me?
What do I need to do?
Is there some action I need to take?
These questions should be a gentle ‘pause to ponder’ moment not a stick to beat yourself with.
This should help you identify the other elements of the emotion beside the mainly negative feeling.
In the “N” step of R.A.I.N, you turn your attention to the simple realisation that YOU are not your mind or your emotions. You are the awareness removed from them.
You are observing yourself & detached.
Imagine a kind, loving relative in a colourful hot air balloon looking down on you seeing the bigger picture.
What do they see?
They have the bigger picture perspective
What would be their advice?
When you have a negative emotion, you can feel like it’s the only part of you that matters at that time.
Non-identification means that you acknowledge this difficult emotion but see it as just a tiny, fleeting part of who you are.
Of course, everyone is different, and this process may not work for everyone, or it may require some practice the first few times.
Some days the ‘rain’ falls heavier than others.
The important thing is to remember that the rain will stop and the sun will shine again.
Whilst it’s raining, it can be important to find your brolly and shelter from the rain.
You can use this R.A.I.N. method anytime you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or out of touch. It’s a powerful way of taking care of yourself in a challenging time.
Perhaps you could share this idea with a friend, a family member or your work colleagues to help them through a rainy day.
What are your thoughts on the R.A.I.N. method?
Did you try it out and have some feedback or experiences to share?
Let me know about it in the comments below.