[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.