RAIN – You can not eliminate negative thoughts

““One way to eliminate self negating thoughts and behavior is by gaining more understanding through realizing that you cannot force others to see that what you feel is real.” ― Iyanla Vanzant

 

Of the 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts that we have every day, approximately 70% of them of them are negative. Just the thought of those numbers would be sufficient to make you feel depressed. However, one of the most effective mindfulness techniques that you can use to help manage those negative thoughts is the RAIN method. It’s a 4-step mindful meditation activity that can help soothe distress; reduce the number of negative thoughts; help lift you from a bad mood, and generally reduce the number and frequency of negative thought patterns.

So what does RAIN stand for and how do you use it?


R= Recognize

Recognize the thoughts or feelings that are hurting you. You can even give a name to them. Having a name for your thoughts and feelings helps shine a light on them so you have something to work with. Strangely enough, I call my negative thoughts”cow” thoughts. I am reminded that as cows ruminate, so do we on the negative. Hence the name.

A= Accept

Acknowledge that negative thoughts are your present reality. This is a way to put the feelings in the spotlight, instead of letting them quietly fester and potentially worsen. I recognise that something has triggered those negative thoughts. Something from the past that has come to the present moment. Or a thought and fear for the future, where I feel unable to deal with the thought. These “past-future fear thoughts” come to me in the present moment and I have come to say that they do not have any effect on my present moment reality.  

I= Investigate

Use a childlike curiosity to delve into these thoughts or feelings. Answer the “Who, What, When, Where, Why?” questions. What caused these thoughts? Are these realistic to have? What actions are possible? Try to investigate the whole scope of the feelings involved with the thoughts. For me personally, I sometimes write down the “5 W’s” and try to answer them. Taking the time to do this, actually stops the rumination and escalation of feelings. It makes me step back and reflect.


N= Not Self

The negative thoughts and feelings you have are not who you are. They are simply an experience you are having and will arise and fall away if you let them. This happens naturally. Your thoughts and feelings are impermanent. Knowing this can help you step back from them and move more fluidly within the ebb and flow of the human experience we all share that includes negative and positive thoughts and emotions that endlessly come and go. For me, my thoughts are not a reflection of the real me. The real me is always present. Here. Now. My thoughts are self-actualised memories and fears and hopes for the future. Not what I represent in the present moment. I hope that makes sense to you.

Anyway, the next time you feel a wave of stress, give this a try!

I leave you with the following quote:

“Only in the world of mathematics do two negatives multiply into a positive.” Abby Morel

 

Engage in the present moment, even when its raining

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” ― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

It is Monday morning and for a change I am not in the midst of the Monday “get up, get ready and rush to work” mode. Instead, like many people at this time of year, I am on holiday. The only downside is that the body clock still chimes the time and I am awake at my “normal” early morning time.

Having failed to return to the land of “zzzz’s”, I instead got up and made a cup of tea and contemplated the day. The sun is not shining, instead the rain is coming down in stair rods. It is lashing against the windows in the kitchen where I am sitting.

I sit and pause and listen. When was the last time any of us sat and listened to the rain? Mostly, we complain that we can not go out and do X, Y or Z due to the rain. I am sure that will be the focus of the conversation around me this morning.

However, I am of a different mind. As I sit here and listen, I began to realise that there was a song in the rain. There was depth to the sounds of the rain as it came down. The different notes as it struck the window versus the bushes outside. The slow background thuds of  rain drops hitting the rubbish bin. And there was the rain song.

I know many of you will be in cars driving, or on buses, or even walking. But where ever you are, just take a moment to listen to the rain song. It will bring you a moment of peace in this frantic and mad world we have created around us.

#Happy Monday where ever you are.

For a change, I leave you with a short poem….. enjoy.

April Rain Song
Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

Langston Hughes