Using the RAIN Exercise to Calm Your Mind

I remember growing up one of my favorite relaxing sounds was the rain falling on the roof and hitting the windows. I still love that sound. So, when I found this mindfulness exercise, I was immediately curious. Mindfulness is one of my favorite techniques to use in many different situations because it is so effective. Mindfulness is the practice of being mentally present and accepting of emotional, physical and cognitive experiences. It is helpful in treating various things such as anxiety, trauma, PTSD, depression and stress. Mindfulness is a skill and it takes some practice but it’s worth learning. The RAIN exercise is designed to help calm you when you are experiencing an unpleasant feeling. It could be anxiety, fear, anger, or another uncomfortable feeling. Here is how you can begin using RAIN in your life.

RAIN is an acronym that will help you remember the steps:

  1. Recognize: you first must recognize that you are experiencing an unpleasant emotion. Take a moment to recognize what you are feeling in your body, what thoughts are in your mind and what situation may have brought on the emotion.
  2. Accept: acceptance means that you allow the emotional experience you are having to be present. You let the emotion run it’s course naturally and acknowledge that the emotion is here rather than trying to resist it.
  3. Investigate: in this stage you will approach your experience with curiosity. You will make kind, compassionate observations about your experience. You might ask yourself: “What is this feeling trying to tell me?”
  4. Non-identification: this final step means that you are putting some distance between yourself and your emotions. For example, just because you are feeling angry doesn’t make you an angry person, it means you are human and you are currently experiencing anger.

Just as I mentioned earlier, this exercise takes practice. Do it slowly and be patient with yourself through the process. Your mind will naturally wander and you practice. Simply, guide it gently back to the exercise. As a warning, opening yourself up to allowing emotional experiences might require some professional guidance by a trained therapist. If your experience becomes intense, stop the exercise and seek some outside help. 

So many of us have learned to try to bottle up or shove down any “negative” emotions we might have. However, there is a purpose to all emotions and we are missing out on the learning we could gain by slowing down our experience and approaching it with an exercise such as RAIN. I hope you find some insight to your emotions through this practice.

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