Imagine it's early morning. As you get ready for the day, you suddenly remember an important task you forgot to do the day before.
get angry at yourself for being so forgetful?
say mean words to yourself like, "I'm such an idiot"?
let this slip-up affect your mood for hours?
If this sounds like you, maybe it's time to go easy on yourself. The RAIN technique is an effective tool you can use to help you practice self-compassion.
What Is The RAIN Technique?
It's is an easy to remember strategy used in mindfulness practice when dealing with your own emotions and stressful situations.
The acronym RAIN stands for:
The 4 steps of RAIN will help you slow down and reframe your thinking when you notice you're being too harsh with yourself.
Recognize What's Going On
The first step of the RAIN technique is to notice that something seems out of the ordinary with you. The most common signs are obvious changes in your:
words — saying things that may be out of character, especially to yourself
thoughts — negative ideas running through your mind
actions — hurtful behaviors toward yourself or those around you
Once you recognize it, name what it is. This can include some or all of these:
a feeling —like "frustration"
a perception — like "I mess everything up"
a physical sensation — like "my heart is beating really fast"
Accept What It Is And Take a Moment
The next step of the RAIN technique is to allow yourself to take a moment and feel what you're feeling without self judgment or criticism. Remind yourself:
This feeling will pass.
It's okay to feel the way you do.
Resist the urge to push it away and go about your day. This can lead to pent-up feelings that will resurface at a later time when you least expect it.
Investigate With Kindness
Bring curious attention to your experience.
During this step of the RAIN technique, ask yourself these questions to help you gain insight :
What's the most difficult thing I'm believing?
Where in my body are my feelings about this the strongest?
Are these familiar feelings I've experienced earlier in life?
What would the part of me that hurts the most express (in words, feelings, images)?
What does this part of me need most (from me or a larger source of love and wisdom)?
Be fully present in your thoughts and listen to what you need.
Now that you've reflected on your needs:
Respond with self-compassion. Offer yourself love, just as you would a friend or loved one.
Experiment with ways to treat yourself with self-care that will help you feel loved, seen, and heard.
Allow yourself to receive care, and enjoy it, too!
Explore ideas from these seven types of self-care activities:
Jesse has had a rough day. He noticed his anger and blamed himself for mistakes in his work project. When his partner greeted him at home, he was annoyed and dismissive, and now feels guilty. What should he do next to practice the RAIN technique?
You did it! You took a step in learning how to take care of your own needs using the RAIN technique!
Remember that nobody is perfect, including yourself. We are often our biggest critics, and forget to treat ourselves the way we would treat those we love.