Emotions are part of our human experience.
An emotion can be understood as a complex experience of consciousness, bodily sensation, and behavior, that reflects the personal significance of a thing, event or state of affairs.
All cultures universally experience feeling happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, pride, embarrassment – along with a whole collection of secondary emotions.
They’re like our oldest, greatest friends.
Emotions influence how we engage with others and affect the decisions we make — and our relationship with those decisions. How we respond to our emotions, therefore, makes all the difference.
Twenty years ago, Michele McDonald coined the concept of RAIN. It is a mindfulness practice that interrupts our natural inclinations towards autopilot, and can help when challenging emotions begin to overwhelm us.
Building the literacy to respond consciously is important because when we engage with our emotions mindfully, we resist the temptation to respond rashly, on autopilot — potentially setting ourselves up for habitual behaviors.
By recognizing our emotions as valid and real, we can begin to accept that we are experiencing them, understand how they manifest in our body, and learn not to be defined by those emotions. We learn that much like our breath and all things in our lives, emotions are temporary.
This practice of RAIN reinforces the healthy processing of challenging emotions. It stands for:
N: not take it personally
I’ve included a brief, guided RAIN-based mindfulness practice.
I’ve recorded this practice so you can try for yourself. Perhaps you’ll make it a regular part of your routine!