12 Books on Mindfulness and Spirituality that Blew My Mind!

“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.” ― Francis Bacon

The practice of mindfulness and meditation made me desperate…

Desperate to discover more about this inner world of peace, love and joy I was tapping into.

I spent years reading through every book on meditation and spirituality that I could get my hands on.

I was on a mission to find answers to my innermost questions.

So, dear friends, here’s a list of my absolutely favourites.

Do let me know of your thoughts, and any others you’ve loved in the comments section below.


The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
 

http://amzn.to/2kwvXl9 

This book has sold millions of copies, I think mainly after appearing on the Oprah Show. Eckhart made a major breakthrough in his life when he realised he was not his thoughts, saving him from suicide. He’s gone on to be one of the most popular spiritual teachers in modern times.

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

http://amzn.to/2los9DW 

This is a beautiful, poetic book, and an absolute joy to read. It makes the Buddha seem almost human, and creatively weaves a story of his path to enlightenment.

Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

http://amzn.to/2kwwiEd 

Thich Nhat Hanh is a very popular Buddhist teacher, probably second only to the Dalai Lama. He was also nominated for the Noble Peace Prize by Martin Luther King. This is a lovely book to introduce you to his writings and teaching. Ideal for those keen to deepen their mindfulness.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby 

http://amzn.to/2k7vrLO

This book will grow your gratitude no end. It’s a book written by Jean-Dominique Bauby as he lies in bed, almost completely paralysed. He wrote the whole book by someone going through the alphabet and he winked each time they got to the correct letter. Amazing achievement and a deeply moving piece of work.

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach

http://amzn.to/2looV3q 

A short, popular book sharing the story of a seagull that just isn’t satisfied with life as it is and discovered a deep, far more satisfying way of living by refusing to follow those around him, and instead following his intuition and overcoming his fear. The book is a lovely metaphor for each of our journeys from a life in the ordinary, physical world, and life to something more that just the everyday grind. A journey from doing more to being more.

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra

http://amzn.to/2k8dCHy

I must be honest. I’m not normally a fan of Deepak’s books. But I read this many years ago, and remember loving it. There’s lots of great tips in here, drawn from the ancient Indian texts, and modernised so it’s more accessible to the general public.

Here’s a summary of the book from a Wikipedia article:

  1. The Law of Pure Potentiality: Take time to be silent, to just BE. Meditate for 30 minutes twice a day. Silently witness the intelligence within every living thing. Practice non-judgment.
  2. The Law of Giving: Today, bring whoever you encounter a gift: a compliment or flower. Gratefully receive gifts. Keep wealth circulating by giving and receiving care, affection, appreciation and love.
  3. The Law of Karma: Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind. Choosing actions that bring happiness and success to others ensures the flow of happiness and success to you.
  4. The Law of Least Effort: Accept people, situations, and events as they occur. Take responsibility for your situation and for all events seen as problems. Relinquish the need to defend your point of view.
  5. The Law of Intention and Desire: Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment. Make a list of desires. Trust that when things don’t seem to go your way, there is a reason.
  6. The Law of Detachment: Allow yourself and others the freedom to be who they are. Do not force solutions—allow solutions to spontaneously emerge. Uncertainty is essential, and your path to freedom.
  7. The Law of Dharma: Seek your higher Self. Discover your unique talents. Ask yourself how you are best suited to serve humanity. Using your unique talents and serving others brings unlimited bliss and abundance.

Freedom from the Known by Jiddu Krishnamurti

http://amzn.to/2lov13H 

In my early quest to deepen my appreciation for life, I came across the work of Krishnamurti. For a couple of years, I was totally hooked, and read through lots of his books! In recent years, I haven’t read so much, as I found it almost too intense, but I do still enjoy reading his quotes from time to time.

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

http://amzn.to/2louYVz 

This book is so well written, I’d say it’s almost divine! The book is in public domain in most countries, and you can download it here. Here’s a juicy extract:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, 
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, 
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, 
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, 
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, 
so He loves also the bow that is stable.


Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond by Ajahn Brahm

http://amzn.to/2k86aMF 

I’m a big fan of Ajahn Brahm, especially in the last few years. This book on meditation has become a classic text on Buddhist Meditation and studies by many monks as well as lay people. If you want to know what happens as your meditation deepens, I’d recommend this guide.


Be As You Are by Ramana Maharshi
 

http://amzn.to/2low0RH 

Ramana Maharshi is considered one of the greatest mystics in India in the last few hundred years. This is the best distillation of his teaching from what I’ve read. If you’re keen to reflect on the nature of who you are, this is a great place to go.


Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

http://amzn.to/2k7zQhG 

This is another hugely popular book. It’s based on the true story of Victor and how he both survived a concentration camp and ended up developing a new form of therapy based on his observations of who survived. His famous quote is:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

A brilliant quotation for any mindfulness student too!


I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj

http://amzn.to/2k8e9sU 

Niargadatta is considered a great sage in India. He was a simple cigarette seller when, through meditation practice and reflection, found himself getting enlightened! People travelled from all over the world to ask him questions. This book is a wonderful collection of questions and answers.
 

If you enjoyed this list, do share with your friends and family - thank you!

Top 10 Ways to be More Mindful

Today I wanted to share a distillation of simple and practical ways in which you can live a more mindful life. If you only have time to read one of my posts today, make it this one. Then, you can dip further into the topic knowing some of the basic ways of integrating mindfulness into your life. 

The simplest ideas and approaches can often lead to the deepest insights. Something as simple as mindfulness of breath, which is just feeling your breathing, can completely transform your life at the deepest of levels. So, read this post with a sense of appreciation for the ancient tradition and modern science of mindfulness. You never know – your life may never be the same again.

1. Engage in Daily Mindful ‘Me Time’

Mindful ‘me time’ means taking time out, every day if possible, to practise a mindfulness meditation or other mindful activity. If you're a constant giver – always thinking about others, perpetually active and never have a minute for yourself – this could turn out to be a valuable principle for you. Regular mindfulness meditation is probably the hardest and yet most powerful way to become more mindful. You probably lead a busy life, and perhaps feel you can’t find any extra time anywhere. But presidents and prime ministers have managed to find time to meditate, and so can you!

You can practise your daily quiet time at any time of day, and for any length of time. However, we recommend morning or early evening for ten minutes a day, which is a great start. Here is how to enjoy a deeper meditation.

2. Meet People Mindfully

Relationships are so important. Humans are social beings, but getting on with others can sometimes be tough.

Here are three little ways to improve your relationships mindfully:

✓ Let go of judgement. Each time you find yourself judging a person as you listen to them, try to let go of the judgement. You probably wouldn’t like it if another person judged you, so try not to judge others. Chapter 3 has more on letting go of judgement.

Make someone a nice drink. By doing an act of kindness as simple as offering to make a cup of tea, you feel better and so does the other person. Make the drink mindfully and offer it with a smile as a gesture of goodwill – don’t look for thanks or anything else.

✓ Be aware of your facial expression. Be more aware of your expression when you’re around others. Give people the gift of your beautiful smile. Everyone looks gorgeous when they smile. Smiles can keep spreading from person to person.

3. Enjoy the Nature

I was fortunate to go for a beautiful walk on holiday recently, passing along a gurgling stream, walking across a sea of pebbles and up through a forest, along a path that wound up through to a clearing. I could see mountains, rivers and a small road with a few cars passing by. Above me, the mountain’s summit was hidden by thick, white clouds that slowly drifted along. Every now and then a bird flew across the horizon. I could continuously smell the scent of forest vegetation as I gazed across the landscape. 

How did you feel, reading that description? For me, just reliving the experience through writing about it made me feel calm. There’s something special about nature that soothes the senses and settles the mind. 

Take time out to be in nature on a regular basis. Listen to the wind as it whistles past your hair. Watch the trees stand tall and straight. Smell the sweet perfume of a rose in bloom and feel the gentle rain as it touches your skin. Spending time in nature is a way to rest your inner being – your deepest self.

4. Embrace Mindful Influences

You’re constantly influenced by the people you spend time with, the newspapers and magazines you read, the television programmes you watch and the advertising you see. When you’re mindful, you can be aware of unhelpful influences and seek experiences that lead to the kind of life you wish to lead, instead of being heavily influenced by external factors.

Here are some key influencers and ways to handle them: 

✓ The media. Positive information and the millions of good deeds from around the world aren’t widely reported as they don’t grab people’s attention. Believing everything’s falling apart is easy if you constantly watch the news - especially recently. Give yourself a break. Don’t tune in to the news before work or last thing at night before bed. Doing so sets up your day with a negative start or ends your day on a downer so that you may not rest well. Instead, check the news or read the paper in the middle of the day or afternoon so it doesn’t affect how you start or finish your day. Stop reading beauty magazines if you read them at all, as the airbrushed unreality can knock self-esteem.

✓ Friends and family. If you want to be more mindful in your life, find friends who value mindfulness. If you want to have a more positive outlook on things, spend time with positive people. Maintaining a positive outlook is tricky around negative people. 

✓ Books and music. Read something inspiring every day; perhaps a page of a mindfulness book, a story of hard-won success or someone who’s overcome a great difficulty or fought for something they really believed in. Enjoy a little bit of daily mindful inspiration!  Listen to uplifting or classical music to create a mindful atmosphere. Any music with a relatively slow rhythm can help you feel a bit more calm, centred and present.

5. Appreciate your blessings

Gratitude is a simple but hugely powerful emotion and habit. You have much to be grateful for, yet you may find yourself focusing on things you don’t have. Switching your focus on your many blessings makes life more enjoyable. Here are five tips to become more grateful in your life: 

Keep a gratitude journal. The act of writing down what you feel grateful for can really boost your levels of wellbeing. You begin to notice more things that are going well. Give it a try for a week. 

Be mindful of your thoughts. By noticing your thoughts, you may notice more times when you’re thinking negatively about a situation. In this case, notice them as just thoughts and reflect on the question: ‘What can I be grateful for in this situation?’ 

Make a commitment in front of your friends or family. By letting those close to you know that you’re making efforts to be a more grateful person, you’ll feel more compelled to ensure that you put the time in to reflect on what you’re grateful for. And your friends and family will remind you to be grateful too. 

Hang out with grateful people. Robert Emmons, Gratitude Researcher at the University of California says, ‘If we hang out with ungrateful people, we’ll “catch” one set of emotions; if we choose to associate with more grateful individuals, the influence will be in another direction. Find a grateful person and spend more time with him or her.’ 

✓ Use reminders. Stick gratitude quotes on your wall, mirror or computer, and bring a picture of your family to work – these things may all remind you to be grateful. 

I also have a guide on how to practice gratitude ready for you to read.

6. Live in the present moment.

Right now, as you’re reading these words, this is all that exists. This moment is the only ultimate reality. Your thoughts about the past are just that – thoughts. Your plans for the future are just that too – plans. Nobody knows what’s going to happen in the next few seconds, let alone tomorrow. So, by living in the moment, you’re living in the only reality that you can be sure of.

Living in the present moment is a question of balance. You don’t need to live every second in the present moment: that’s impossible, unrealistic and perhaps even stressful! But mindfulness helps you to live more in the here-and-now to help you live with that same freshness as a young child does. Living in the here-and-now is especially helpful when you’re going through a tough time.

You can take things moment by moment, rather than worrying about the whole problem. Say to yourself, ‘I’ll live my life one breath at a time and see what happens.’ You can read more about letting go here.

7. Accept what you can't change

Acceptance. This is a powerful concept! Accepting that things can’t always change has been shown to be hugely therapeutic in many studies

The most transformative area for cultivating acceptance is your difficult, uncomfortable emotions. When you feel sad, anxious or frustrated, although you may not like the feeling, you can try not to avoid the sensation which, unless the feeling is mild or fleeting, can end up giving the feelings more power. You’re fighting or running away from your feelings. 

Instead, try accepting your emotions. Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to like your emotions, or resign yourself to feeling bad for the rest of your life. No.  Acceptance means that in this moment, this is how you feel, and that’s okay. You acknowledge that this is the way things are at the moment.

8. See Thoughts as Thoughts

Thoughts are just sounds and pictures that arise in your consciousness. And yet, problems with thoughts arise when you believe them all to be absolutely true. By seeing thoughts as just thoughts, you become the master of them and can decide if a thought is helpful for you or not. 

Mindfulness isn’t about positive thinking. That’s just putting another thought on top of any negative ones. Mindfulness is about seeing thoughts from a different perspective – from the bird’s-eye view of mindful awareness. From this vantage point, thoughts are like words coming from a radio or images on a cinema screen. They’re interesting, but they don’t define you. 

Mindfulness empowers you to be in the driving seat rather than your thoughts.

9. Have some fun

Light-heartedness can be hugely helpful in putting the everyday hassles of life into perspective. An injection of light-heartedness does just that – lightens the load on your heart. So we say, let there be a bit more fun in your life. Try to see the funny side of your situation.

But best of all, have fun and laugh just for the sake of it. Children don’t think about why they want to have fun – they do it just because it feels so good! And you were a child once, so that same innate desire is still inside you.

10. Use the ACT Approach

You can use this ACT exercise (usually used in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), whenever you’re faced with a strong emotion or difficult situation that you need to deal with to help you live life more mindfully. 

Accept. Accept your reactions, feelings and thoughts by being present with your sensations, but taking a step back and watching them from a distanced perspective. Have an attitude of allowing or letting be. Hold the sensation in your body, notice what the feeling is actually like without judging it. Allow the sensation to rest in your being. Feel your breath and just be present with things as they are. You’re making space for thoughts and feelings to be present without overwhelming you, if you can. 

✓ Choose. Choose to move towards actions that can enrich and add meaning to your life. Have a sense of being together with your feelings rather than running from or fighting with them. When facing strong emotions, you may choose to go for a walk, talk to a friend or have a long bath. Let your choice be conscious and mindful rather than mindless and automatic. 

✓ Take action. Take the action that you’ve chosen mindfully. Your choice may help you to soothe your emotions or deal with an issue. Be aware of how your choice, from a thought, turns into action. And make the activity mindful by connecting with your senses, your breathing or continuing to notice your thoughts and feelings that arise as you carry out the action. For example, if your girlfriend storms off in anger, you may choose to follow her and talk calmly to her.
 

Extracted and adapted from our book Mindfulness Workbook for Dummies by Shamash Alidina and Joelle Jane Marshall.

What did you think of these tips? Are there any others you'd like to share with our community in the comments below?

How to Let Go in 7 Powerful Steps

Recently, I've been challenged.

I discovered someone has been lying to me for over a year and effectively stole thousands of pounds.

At first, I admit, I was shocked. Why me? How can anyone lie so much? Why did I trust him?

I decided to put my mindfulness, compassion (kindfulness) and other philosophies into practice to see if it works.

I'm happy to report, not only did I manage to let that hurt go, I actually feel compassion for them.

And although I'd love to take the credit for being able to let go, it's all down to these wonderful teachings that we all now have access to.

Here's how I did it and how you can too.

7 Steps to Let Go

1) Realise that you’re holding on to a negative experience. This person, let’s call him Lenny, lied to me. And I’m annoyed about that. I want some revenge...So I see that Lenny’s actions has hurt me and is still hurting me as long as I think of him badly.

2) Decide to see your situation in another way. Ok, Lenny lied to me, but probably doing that for a reason. Maybe he was short of money. Maybe he’s a compulsive liar and just can’t help it. Maybe he has some mental issues and only knows how to lie. Maybe he had such an awful upbringing, that just doing some lying is a huge improvement. There’s so many possible reasons!

3) See the reality of your situation. People do lie! Cheating happens! Money gets stolen. That’s the way the world works. Realising this helps to remind me it’s not a big deal and I’m certainly not the only person this has happened to. There are lots of Lennys out there!

4) See the benefits of your situation. His actions have given me a chance to practice letting go. It’s given me an opportunity to write this blog post. I’ve learnt what to do in a similar situation if it happens again. He’s probably spent some of that money and that may have got to other families, helping them to buy food or clothing. Due to his actions I’ve met some new people and made some new friends. I can also warn others about how to avoid getting money stolen in this way.

5) Feel compassion for the person by putting yourself their shoes . Lenny lied to other people, I’m pretty sure of that. In fact, I know that. And other people are hurt by him too. He must lead a really tough life. It must be very difficult for him to hold a friendship. And lying must be stressful. He needs to constantly remember what he said to whom. I’d hate to be in his position. Not pleasant at all. I feel for him. I hope he sees the errors in his ways one day soon, so he can lead a more peaceful and happy life, both for himself and those around him. I could even consider trying to get him some help, so Lenny could step out of this destructive cycle.

6) Forgive them...for everyone’s sake. Having seen things from these different perspective, I forgive him completely. This way, I feel much better and I also hope he is relieved of this burden he carries around in his life too...May Lenny one day see the error in his ways and find some peace of mind.

7) Enjoy your more positive mindset! I feel proud of my way of seeing this situation this way. And sharing it with you - hopefully it’ll help you or someone...I give myself permission to enjoy the pleasure of letting go!

What about you?

Consider something causing you excessive stress.

Got one?

Now see if you can apply the above 7-step formula to your situation.

Take as long as you need for each step.

And If you don't manage to do this for your situation, try with a small hurt...

build up you inner ability to let go...with practice you’ll get better and better.

The Ancient Teachings on Letting Go

The essence of the teachings of the Buddha and many other wise philosophers is:

‘To be happy, let go’

Letting go not only of your past hurts, but also letting go of striving anxiously to achieve goals that cause more stress than they’re worth.

That way, you can focus happily in the present moment and your dreams are much more likely to be achieved!

In summary:

Here's an even easier, 4-step process you could try.

  1. Mindfulness - Be aware of your negative mindset...you’re suffering!

  2. Perspective shift - See your situation in a more positive way. Ask others for help if you can’t seen the positive.

  3. Compassion - Imagine yourself in the other person’s shoes and consider any suffering they may be going through. Wish them well.

  4. Joyfulness - Enjoy your more positive mindset...yipee!

Even a 1% improvement is awesome...don’t expect to totally let go....tiny steps rule!

If you enjoyed this gentle approach to letting go, sign up now to our free 7-day Kindfulness video program to see how it could help you, too!

How to Practice Gratitude - The Ultimate Guide

 

Whenever life gets me down, I turn to two things: mindfulness or gratitude. If things are so bad that I can't focus on my mindfulness (and kindfulness) practice, then gratitude works really well for me. Gratitude practice is easy to do and can certainly make you feel better.

Gratitude practice is simply taking the time, as often as possible, to think, write, talk or draw about what's going well in your life. It's about saying thank you rather taking things for granted. And gratitude practice is more powerful than you probably thought. Here's why:

Benefits of Gratitude practice

Why does taking a few minutes of your time to think about what you're grateful for, result in higher levels of wellbeing? Here's why:

  • You focus on what's going well - When you take time to think about what you're grateful for in your life, you're focusing on the positive. You probably know about the benefits of seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty. But have you ever considered that it's the same glass? The reality is the same, it's just you're seeing it in a more helpful, uplifting way.
  • You put things into perspective - When life gets difficult, it's easy to pay attention to the negatives. By taking the time to consider what's going your way at the moment, you put things back into balance. Life is probably not as bad as you think. There are probably other people out there suffering far more than you. Spare a thought for them too.
  • You start to notice more positive things - By taking the time to be grateful, you're more likely to notice other positive things going on. For example, yesterday I thought about how lucky I was to have a job that I love. Then, I remembered all the specific people that I'd met through my work that made me smile. And then I remembered the wonderful speakers that I had the honor to listen to, including the Dalai Lama! But taking time to be grateful, a chain of positive thoughts unravelled themselves.
  • You become more mindful - Mindfulness is about noticing what happening around you. The act of reflecting on what's going well for you makes you more aware and awake - that's mindfulness. It's taking a step out of your usual ideas, and looking around at how fortunate you actually are.
  • You pay less time with your circling thoughts - I see a lot of clients who suffer from anxiety. This involves lots of worry. When you're worrying, you're focusing on the future and what could go wrong. By practising gratitude you're reflecting on the present moment, and what's going well about it. You're immediately spending less time worrying, and therefore your level of anxiety will probably ease too.

How to practise Gratitude

There is probably an infinite way of practising gratitude. Here are a few of the most common ones. If you know any others, please share them in the comments below:

  • Writing statements down - This is the technique I use most often. You simply need to spend a few minutes in the morning, evening or any time of day, to reflect on what you're grateful for. I would recommend at least three different things to start with, and as you get better at it, you can do more.
  • Thanking someone - Simple! Just text, call or actually say thanks to someone. Expressing gratitude is even more powerful than just thinking gratitude.
  • Saying a prayer or reflection - Some of you may be religious and pray already. Let your prayers be filled with gratitude rather than focusing on asking God for a new Ferrari. Just be grateful for your mini and take things from there.
  • Sharing gratitude digitally - You could use a gratitude app like we love mojo or the gratitude garden, or you could join me in my Facebook gratitude group.
  • Gratitude body scan meditation - If you're into mindfulness (and you probably are, I guess), then you've heard of the body scan meditation. Well, adapt it to the gratitude body scan by going through each body part and saying to yourself why you're grateful for it. I'm sure you'll have fun doing this with some of your body parts. :)

Examples of Gratitude Statements

Sometimes it can be difficult to think of what you're grateful for. If you're struggling, here's a little helping hand for you

  • Food. There's billions of people that don't have enough food to eat everyday. Do you?
  • Shelter. If you have a home to go back to and sleep in, out of the elements, you can count yourself lucky.
  • Clothing. Most people reading this have one pair of clothes, at least. That's something to be grateful for.
  • Family. Do you have family members? Any of whom you like? If so, this is a big one. You're very fortunate if you have a loving family. Many don't.
  • Friends. If you have even one friend, that's something worth celebrating. Without friendship, life is tricky. So if you have a friend out there somewhere, meet or call them if you can. And say thank you.
  • Job. Do you have a job that pays you money? If so, that's wonderful. There are more and more with no job at all. Even if you don't like your job, at least you have some money coming in.
  • Health. I hope you have some health, if not everything. Health is so precious and yet so easy to take for granted when things are going lovely jubly.
  • You're alive on planet earth. I'm pretty sure you're alive and on earth. If so, that's a miracle itself, don't you think? What a beautiful planet we live on, with beaches, forests, mountains and lakes. Millions of different animals, countless plants, birds, trees.
  • Access to the internet. If you're online, you're connect with millions, if not billions, of other people. That's amazing, isn't it?

Scientific Benefits of Gratitude

One of the best sources of research on gratitude is by Dr Robert Emmons. Here's what he found:

  • People with gratitude journals, writing down what they were grateful for on a daily basis, did more exercise, were more optimistic and were positive about the week to come.
  • People with gratitude journal make better progress on their personal goals
  • Daily self-reflective gratitude exercises resulted in greater alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy.
  • People practising daily gratitude are more likely to report that they've helped someone else - either with their personal problems or offering emotional support
  • There's evidence that gratitude practice leads to better quantity and quality of sleep.
  • Even children who practise gratitude have a more positive attitude towards school and family life.

Top 5 Gratitude Videos

1. This is just a breath taking video on gratitude. You'll love it, I think.

2. This is a similarly visually beautiful video about both mindfulness and gratitude. It's so good!

3. What a cool, awesome gratitude song! Wow! :)

4. If you like watching people doing the gratitude dance all over the world, you'll love this one! Almost half a million views.

5. This is a popular song on mindfulness which has been listened to over 400,000 times on YouTube

 

Top 5 Gratitude Articles

There's a bunch of articles on gratitude out there. Well, more than a bunch. I got the cream of the crop and put them here for you to check out.

Want to share what you're grateful for with us? Got any suggestions for resources that I should include here? Let me know in the comments below.

[Infographic] 4 Powerful Mindful Steps to Deal with Difficult Emotions

You're feeling sad...or anxious...or angry....what do you do?

Spend hours mindlessly on social media?

Reach for a cigarette or some drug?

Lash out at your partner? Open the fridge?

Life can be tough and the normal things we do to cope with uncomfortable feelings is not always the best choice.

But it's understandable if you don't know what else to do...I mean, who taught you that there is an alternative?

Fortunately there is, and I'm going to share this infographic we've created, with you today.

A simple, 4-step formula to cope when life gets you down.

Let's imagine you're feeling low and want to use this RAIN approach to help you cope. 

1. Recognise - Say in your mind 'I'm feeling sad...I'm aware of a low mood right now'. By labelling the emotion, you immediate begin to feel a bit more I control. There's evidence to suggest labelling emotions really helps to cope with the feeling.  

2.  Accept - Say to yourself 'I allow this emotion of sadness to just be here' together with a feeling of acceptance or allowing. You don't fight the sadness or deny its existence. By doing this, you stop fighting the reality of the situation and see the sadness for what it is. Once you realise that allowing the sadness to just be is a helpful way to work with it, you'll find it easier to cultivate that acceptance. Use small steps. Even 1% more acceptance is fantabulous! Bonus tip - add kindness in this part too. I call this process Kindfulness by being aware and being friendly towards difficulties.

3. Investigate - Ask yourself 'where do I feel this sadness is my body exactly? What is its size, texture, colour or shape? How does it change as I rest my accepting awareness upon it? Am I accepting my sadness or trying to get rid of it all the time? Ask any question you like - but avoid why questions because that just ends up looking to blame yourself or others. Investigate instead.  

4. Non-identify - See the sadness as separate from your core being. See the feeling as an experience that arises and passes away. By observing the sadness, notice there's 'you' and 'your sadness' and you can shift your attitude towards the sadness. 

5. Bonus step:  Evaluate - notice what effect your attitude and RAIN approach had. Are you now feeling more or less sad? Are you letting the emotion be, or still fighting it? By evaluating in this way, you discover the effect of your attitude upon the emotion. Then, you can return back to whatever you were doing. 

Conclusion

Use this 4-step RAIN process to cope with difficult thoughts, feelings or situations.

The essence of RAIN is to empower you to gently work through the difficulty rather than running away or avoiding the challenge.

Want to try more exercises like this, with lots of kindness and compassion too? Give our 7 day free Kindfulness Meditation video and audio course a try!

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Disclaimer: As with all our blog posts of this nature, if your emotions are having a significant negative effect on your everyday life, please follow the advice of your health professional. They should know what's best for you.