In addition to the physical pain, most of the time, you face emotional difficulties, starting from a simple state of irritation, and led to anger, torment, sadness, fear, or envy. Often, you lose the battle of negative emotions, because you just live and react to them unconsciously, without being aware of the emotions themselves.
EMOTION VS REACTION
No one is immune to these negative emotions, but the way you react to them can prevent, modify or reduce their intensity. To be able to recognize your mental and bodily experience, and the discernment of your emotional states, Mindfulness is a tool that you can use as a pause between emotion and action. When negative emotions become chronic will harm your health and your relationships.
Do you remember how many times due to a strong negative emotion you had a reaction that create a combustible situation?
How many times could you not stop such a reaction?
When you create that pause between emotion and action, you will see that your words and actions are less likely to hurt you or other people.
Your body reacts emotionally and often responds unconsciously to environmental stimuli and changes related to it. If you ignore or repress a negative emotion, it will not avoid the consequences, but on the contrary, it will multiply them. To be aware of your emotions, it means to recognize them, to feel them, and to let them go, without controlling you, or generating negative reactions.
You must understand that they are transient. You have experienced a million different emotions in your life, but now they are not longer with you. They are constantly changing, although when you experience them, they give you the impression that you will live them forever.
R.A.I.N – A FOUR STEP PROCESS
A Mindfulness method that can help you work consciously with negative emotions, is R.A.I. N, the acronym that comes from:
N.- Non Identification.
This is a method developed by Michele McDonald, and used in the Buddhist meditation circles, and by many mindfulness teachers around the world. You can apply this method whenever you face a negative emotion, and challenging situations.
What is really happening?
It is the fundamental first step of being aware of your emotions. Surely you have lived moments when you felt trapped in emotions, suffocated, and without the ability to think clearly. Well, through this first step, you kindly recognize and label the emotion you are experiencing: “anger”, “fear”, “sadness”, “guilt”, etc. This is a way to control it, to induce cognitive assessment, which will help you calm down, and realize that you are not so suffocated by that emotion.
Can you accept what is happening?
From a Mindfulness perspective, all human emotions experienced are good, because they are real, have a present action, and give information about desires, needs and fears. They are part of the human experience. Mindfulness urges you to be present and to accept with compassion what is happening in reality, without judging yourself, feeling shame, guilt, or fear. It may be difficult in some cases to like the feeling, and to accept the emotion, even if it is your reality. Just be aware that you cannot accept it. Sometimes, the process of acceptance can be slow, but you should not give up and be disappointed that it does not work. It is ideal to be patient with yourself and to continue the practice.
Can you bring interest to what is happening to you?
It refers to the process of feeling emotion in your body, and how it manifests. When you are caught in the fever of emotion, you tend to go to its history, which will feed and intensify the emotion itself, and not reduce it. Mindfulness helps you to simplify the whole process.
Being in tune with the real bodily sensation it helps you reduce and calm the emotion, and at the same time to understand that it is only the results of sensations combined with the thoughts that surround them. Every time you experience a negative emotion, investigate its manifestation as a sensation in your body.
Where do you feel the emotion in your body? Can you locate it in your stomach, chest, throat?
How do you feel in your stomach? Is it a sensation of pressure, burning, heaviness?
How do you feel in your chest? A sensation of tension, vibration, suffocation?
What do you feel in the throat? Is it a sensation of oppression, of drying?
What kind of thoughts are going through your mind?
If it is difficult for you to do this at first, to connect with your bodily sensations, just try to relax, take a few deep breaths and try to identify the general sensation of emotion. The more you practice being aware of yourself, and the sensations that you are experiencing, the more you will be able to deal with your negative emotions.
Is the emotion happening to you, or is just happening?
Is the most powerful step. If you have overcome the first three steps, at this level you are already able to no longer treat emotions as something personal. You understood that they come and go, they ceased to exist as yours, and they have now become just simple emotions that will pass away.
Maybe you lived in a situation where, although you were overwhelmed by an emotion of fear, or sadness, inside you, in a small part, you knew you were fine. But not being aware of the emotion, you identified it as something personal, an attachment to you. In this last step, you already know, and you can reflect that in fact, you are not the emotion itself.
Thus practicing Mindfulness with your emotions, through the R.A.I. N method, you will be able to identify, accept, and investigate how they manifest, managing personal detachment from their presence.
- Which kind of negative emotions do you experiment with more often?
- Do you recognize and accept them, or you prefer to repress them?
- Do you take them personally, or can you treat them as a passing experience?
I would love to know your answers, so feel free to share your experience with R.A.I. N method or any suggestion you have, in the comment below.
Till next time…
Be In The Control Of Your Emotions!
~ Diana D. ~
Founder of dareandbe.com/
You have mentiond a lot of good tips when dealing with Negative Emotions. I tend to keep things in when they bother me and just let them go. My wife is one that will let her reactions fly. We were talking about tone of voice recently which I think adds to this discussion. The way you speak (volume and tone) can show the negativity in your reaction to high stress or negative feelings.
Thank you for taking the time to contribute to this article, through your experience. From what I understand, you are the kind who repress emotions, and your wife responds to them on impulse.
A few years ago, I was responding to emotions based on impulse, but personal experience and especially professional experience, made me more aware of the emotion itself, as well as my reaction to it.
So, as a recommendation, when you are in such a situation, just take both of you that short break to clarify your thoughts, to become aware of the emotions you feel and the reactions they generate, then you can have a conversation. calm, in which to say things as they are, in a civilized manner.
It works much better at solving emotional problems, than if you repress them or give them freedom of expression through a serious tone and high volume.
Hi Diana. Thank you for this great post. It couldn’t be more actual with all negative emotions we are facing currently. Fear about our family, uncertainty of tomorrow and overwhelming limitations are very difficult to handle. We all need to do our best and support each other but with some things and thoughts we need to deal by ourselves. And R.A.I.N methods seems as a great tool to make it easier. I haven’t heard about it before but looking forward to use your recommendation and test it in practice.
Thank you for stopping by. R.A.I.N is not a difficult method to deal with negative emotions, but it requires that time for introspection, to become aware of the existence of the emotion you are experiencing, to be able to name and accept it, to understand that the reaction to it is only by impulse.
Please try the R.A.I.N method, and come back to this article with an update on how the practice works for you.
Hi Diana. This is another very helpful article from you. I have low self-esteem, so this should say a lot when I make reference to negative emotions. Because of the self-esteem, I react to things differently from what I should do. I know I have to work with myself to overcome my lack of self-esteem, but it’s not that easy. Thank you for sharing this article.
I am glad to see you back here. Most of the time the lack of self-esteem is related to the way you are seen by others, they can be relatives, friends, colleagues, which can determine its appearance or disappearance.
You need a foray into your inner source to find yourself, to find your strength, which will help you become less interested in what people think about you.
As long as you depend on the opinion of others, unfortunately you will be under their influence. I highly recommend you to introduce meditation into your lifestyle. It will change your life, and the perspective about life. Take care.
We all can agree that no one was born with negative emotions. Negative emotions are emotions that acquired by someone for feeling rejected, mistreated, not fitting in or not getting things done the way they would want to. You’ve used the acronym R.A.I.N to help solve negative emotions. I think this is an awesome setting to use when having negative emotions. It actually helps the individual to be aware of such reactions. I don’t like to use the word “control”. I would rather use the word “manage.” Because at anytime the outburst of negative emotions can reoccur. That means that we have to keep on managing the situation. Most of the time, when I hear psychology professional use the word “control’ with patients in behavioral psych, I would correct them, and they would totally agree with me. Thanks for a wonderful article.
Good to see you here. I appreciate your input. Of course nobody is born with these emotions. They arise because of external factors wich we allow to influence us, the thoughts we allow to control us, and the feelings that are generated as a result of all of them.
As Buddha said: “Your worst enemy is your mind. If you don’t control it, it will control you.” The same thing happens with your negative emotions. When you become aware of the emotion you are facing, that means you have that emotion under control, and with the rest of process you will be able to manage the way how that emotion will affect you.
Thank you for stopping by.
Thank you so much for sharing a great and informative article. It is truly incredible that you have illustrated this topic so well. I gained a lot of knowledge about it. Of the points mentioned in your article, I like INVESTIGATION of the negative emotions. I basically always investigate how I feel, and what I need to do to find happiness. There are so many sorrows in human life, so we have to overcome them, and get happiness.
Finally, I enjoyed reading your article and I’d like to share it in my Facebook group, if you are ok with that.
Thank you for stopping by, and for your appreciation. Most of the time in our lives we are in pursuit of happiness. We are firmly convinced that it is something already done, and we just have to find it and take it.
But unfortunately, it is not that simple. It is a whole process of self-discovery, acceptance and maintenance. All starts with our mentality, with self-awareness, with our ability to accept and overcome, and especially with the actions we take.
It is not the first time I go to your website and read your content, and I have to say that it is always a pleasure to read your articles for the topics you cover! I really loved this article about how to win negative emotions and the 4-step process to follow – I’ve never considered this topic in these terms. My favorite step is the non-identification one, when you try to deal with that negative emotion as a non-personal issue and consider that bad feeling as a passing experience. It is extremely interesting! Bookmarked!
I am glad to see you back. Your enthusiasm and appreciation can only make me very happy. That means my work is not in vain. Thank you for that, and for your time spent in reading my articles.
Hello Diana, negative emotions can really be hurtful to the individual bearing it and can cause more harm than good to anyone around you. For me, I have learned to read books and try and sleep whenever I am ins much situation and that has always worked with me. I hope we all find a way that works for us
Indeed, the negative emotions affect the individual bearing them, but the reactions derived from those emotions can hurt the people around. Most people have a personal way of overcoming them, but also many do not exceed them.
In my profession I have noticed that people are afraid accepting and facing reality. And Mindfulness does just that. It makes you aware of both the environment and what is happening to you. Just like in the article above, the R.A.I.N method makes you aware of the present emotion you are experiencing, to accept it, to observe it, and to let it go, without altering you and those around. Thank you very much for stopping by, and for sharing your experience.
thank you very much for these RAIN steps. I have gone through experiences in my life recently where identifying the emotions and reacting accordingly was a must. I didn’t have RAIN back then but I learnt from that previous experience and I’m learning even more reading your post. Thank you very much!
You welcome. Thank you for stopping by. I am glad that you found your way in dealing with your negative emotions. Doesn’t matter if it is R.A.I.N method, or a different way with wich you feel more comfortable. Important is to be aware and to don’t ignore them, and especially to don’t take them personally.