RAIN is a meditation technique, based on the ancient Buddhist practice of mindfulness meditation.
Originally conceptualized by Michele McDonald, RAIN is an acronym for Recognition, Acceptance, Investigation, and Non-Identification. Since creating RAIN, Michele McDonald has expanded the acronym to RAINDROP, which includes Distraction, Resistance, Obliviousness, and Personification.
What Are The 4 Steps of RAIN Technique?
R.A.I.N. is a mindfulness-meditation technique that helps you to detach from your thoughts and emotions to find peace and tranquility.
R: Recognize: Recognizing what is going on in your mind and body.
We are constantly interacting with our environments, and our brain processes this feedback. When a person is experiencing stress or anxiety, their brain will process the outside information differently.
By recognizing what is going on in your mind and body at such times, you can learn to identify the causes of your stress and create a plan to change things for the better.
A: Accept: Accepting the thoughts and feelings that come up.
When you have a disturbing thought or feeling, don’t judge it. Instead, acknowledge and accept it. Thoughts are just that: thoughts. They aren’t always based on reality.
They could be the product of your past conditioning or programming that is still active in your system. Some of your thoughts may not be based on any reality.
So, remind yourself that your thoughts do not define you as someone who you are not. You do not have to hold on to them. Allow them to come up and go. Imagine yourself standing on your patio, watching a crowd of people and cars pass by down on the street below.
I: Investigate: Investigate what you are experiencing with a gentle curiosity.
Making sense of the world can be a daunting task when you are having many unpleasant thoughts together. In such situations, asking questions about what you are experiencing can help you to understand the world better, and find joy in living.
If you feel overwhelmed, explore what exactly is making you feel this way, why is it happening, and how you might help yourself get through it.
N: Non-identify: Nonjudgmentally release or let go of any thoughts, feelings, or sensations that no longer serve you.
Nonjudgmentally release or let go of any thoughts, feelings, or sensations that no longer serve you. Living in judgment can cause a lack of peace and joy. Make an intention to manage your thoughts and feelings with nonjudgmental awareness.
Notice where your judgments come from and what triggers them. For example, the people close to you or their behaviors and attitudes in response to what happened or what you did, might cause judgments.
How To Meditate Using The RAIN Technique?
At its core, RAIN is mindfulness meditation. So, we start it as we do with mindfulness meditation: by sitting in a quiet place and focusing on the present moment.
You can do it anywhere, even while walking or performing easy tasks such as eating.
RAIN can help you cope better with stress and anxiety, and anger. Here is the step-by-step method to use the RAIN technique:
• Step 1: Find a quiet place where you will be free of distractions for 10 minutes. Turn off your phone. You can put on gentle music to mask environmental noises.
• Step 2: Sit on the floor or a chair with your back straight. Take 3 to 4 gentle and deep breaths, releasing each just as gently.
• Step 3: Close your eyes. Keep taking long slow breaths, inhaling deeply, and releasing them slowly. Let yourself relax with each out-breath.
• Step 4: Focus on the feeling you are having. Label that emotion. If it’s anger, call it anger. Tell yourself, “Right now, I am feeling anger.”
This is the Recognition phase of RAIN.
• Step 5: Notice how your anger (or any other emotion) is making your body react. Are your shoulders tensed? Are you having a dull headache? Is your jaw taut? Notice and acknowledge them without judging them.
Tell yourself, “I am a human, and humans make mistakes and feel negative about them.”
This is the Acceptance phase of RAIN.
• Step 6: Once you have noticed the effects of your emotion, take your mind to figure out when and how did that emotion originate. How fast it had its effect on your physiology, like increasing your pulse and breathing rate, or causing a lump of pressure in your chest.
Explore what beliefs you have attached to it. Does it cause you to lose control and do things you will come to regret later? Does it make you worry too much about future uncertainties?
Tell yourself, “I have moments of suffering like this when I experience that emotion.”
This is the Investigation phase of RAIN.
• Step 7: Let go of your judgments and self-criticism associated with that particular feeling. For example, anger is a natural emotion. However, even when you feel anger rising inside, you do not have to act on that anger.
Feeling angry is acceptable, but it is not right to act aggressively.
Let yourself be your best friend, doing whatever your wounded self needs the most at that moment. Let you, as your good friend, have a relaxing conversation with yourself.
Tell yourself, “Emotions are a natural part of living, but I am not my emotions. So I allow myself to un-identify with this emotion.”
This is the Non-identification phase of RAIN.
• Step 8: Finally, open your eyes and let yourself bask in the warmth of your self-compassion. Relax into it. Absorb the feelings of love and peace.
How Do You Benefit By Practicing RAIN Technique?
RAIN can reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate symptoms of depression, help in handling the negative emotions better, enhance sleep quality, improve focus and creativity, and increase mental tranquility.
It also helps us develop self-awareness and self-compassion so that we can understand our own needs better and be kinder to ourselves.
RAIN helps us recognize our feelings without judging ourselves or others. It helps us learn how to live in the present moment.
How Can RAIN Expand Your Self-Awareness?
RAIN technique is a powerful tool to expand your self-awareness and become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.
The RAIN technique can be used in many situations, such as when you want to work on something that has been bothering you. It can help you successfully process your negative thoughts or feelings that impede the smooth flow of your life.
We can also use it as a meditation technique when you need some alone time to get grounded and centered again after a hard day at work, or when dealing with stressors like relationship problems or financial troubles.
RAIN can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings without attaching yourself to them. Practicing it regularly can lead your mind to a more peaceful state and make you become a close friend of yours.
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy—a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental health, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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