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MeditationExperiencing Strong Emotions

Experiencing Strong Emotions

When we’re experiencing difficult emotions, it can be helpful to practice RAIN: recognize, accept, investigate in the body, and non-identification.

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One of the most important tools for emotion regulation and resilience is the ability to pause and name what's going on internally. If you're experiencing a difficult emotion, but you're not sure what it is, you might label your state confusion or just unpleasant. After noting the emotion or its qualities, it's helpful to accept that this emotion is here now and allow all of the thoughts and urges that come along with it to be there just as they are as you observe them with compassion. The next step involves investigating the senses in our bodies, scanning through the body to notice sensations like tightness, pressure, heat, and tingling. Lastly, we acknowledge that the emotional state is temporary and we let go of any attachment to what it means about us. This emotional regulation process is captured with the acronym RAIN, recognize, accept, investigate in the body, and non-identification. In today's practice, we'll go through the steps of RAIN so you can practice it and use it when you're experiencing strong emotions. So let's start by finding a comfortable seated position. Allow your back to grow tall and your hands to rest wherever they're most comfortable. And take a slow, deep breath. In through your nose. And out through your mouth. And if it's comfortable for you, you can close your eyes. And just take one more deep breath in through your nose. And very slowly breathe out through your nose. And then just let your breath be natural and easy. Letting go of any effort to breathe in any special way. And give yourself permission to rest in the stillness of your posture. Bringing to mind the preciousness of this moment and time to practice. And as you settle in, see if you can bring to mind the feeling you have after all of the tasks for the day are done. And all there is left to do is relax. Invite that relaxation and effortless ease into your practice today. And now take a moment to appreciate your efforts and taking time to practice right now. And gently turn your attention to your body. Noticing where you feel your natural breath, moving your body. Maybe in the abdomen, as it rises and falls. Or the chest, as you feel your lungs expanding and contracting. Or maybe right at your nose, as you feel the air entering and leaving the nose. And then just allow your awareness to rest in whatever spot you naturally gravitate toward today. And at any time in this practice, you can drop my instruction and just rest in whatever way feels comfortable for you. And then just place your attention on the steady rhythm of your breath, wherever you can feel it most easily. And bring to mind a recent difficult experience. And it doesn't have to be the most difficult experience you've had recently, but something that elicited annoyance or maybe sadness, or some other difficult emotion. And once the situation comes to...


Duration10 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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