In everyday life, you can incorporate new thinking patterns into your day at any point and in any situation. The RAIN and STOP techniques are two well-known techniques that will help you regain control and use mindfulness to harness your thoughts and reactions.
The RAIN technique has four easy steps:
1) Recognise what is going on
2) Allow the experience to be there, just as it is
3) Investigate with kindness
4) Natural awareness, which comes from not identifying with the experience
What the steps mean
1) Recognition – The first task is to recognise the emotion itself. Instead of pushing away negative emotions, allow the emotion to be and recognise it for exactly what it is. The art is trying to observe the emotion from outside of it. Observe and quietly listen until you recognise what the emotion is without drowning in it.
2) Allow – The next part of the emotion is to simply allow the emotion to be present. This is scary for most people but allowing the emotion to be present is an important part of dealing with it. It is at the stage of allowing a negative emotion that you may begin to recognise the underlying reason for the feeling and it will then lose its power over you.
3) Investigate – Many times you may not need to investigate your emotions. Recognising and letting go may be enough to bring you back into a mindful state of awareness. When you investigate an emotion, you may be able to trace back to a learning process that created a worry within you that you carry around in your mind.
4) Natural Awareness – Natural Awareness (or non-identification) is the eventual realisation that you can feel, experience and observe your own emotional state in an objective way, without becoming ruled by the emotions themselves.
The STOP technique is a quick and effective technique that can take as little as three minutes but will effectively reroute the thoughts, and as result, change the remainder of the day.
This technique has four steps:
1) Stop – simply pause
2) Take a few deep breaths
3) Observe your thoughts and any emotional response that you may be feeling
4) Proceed in a different direction
Like any other skill worth learning, it will take time and energy to regain control over your mind but it is possible and worth the effort.