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Feeling Anxious? Here’s a Quick Tool To Center Your Soul

We all need strategies to push back against conflict, anger and worry. One of the globe’s leading mindfulness teachers, Tara Brach, distills the practice of mindfulness into a simple 4-step tool from her new book Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN.

NPR’s Life Kit host Allison Aubrey spoke with Brach,  about her book and the mindfulness tool, RAIN, an acronym for a four-step process: recognize, allow, investigate and nurture.

The following are a few excerpts from the interview:

What is mindfulness at its core. Can you describe mindfulness in a sentence or two?

Mindfulness is paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment without judgment.

The “R” and the “A” in RAIN stand for Recognize and Allow — can you explain that?

So “recognize” comes when we realize on some level we’re stuck. We’re having a hard time. All we’re doing with “recognize” is sensing whatever feeling is predominant in that moment. And it might be we simply say ‘upset’ or ‘confused’ or ‘angry’ or ‘hurt’.

With “allow” you actually are pausing, saying ‘it’s OK.’ Let’s just let this be for a few moments. And that’s the pause. That’s the space we’re creating that gives you the power and the freedom.

So the next step is “I” for investigate. What are some questions that you can ask to help yourself investigate?

Ask yourself ‘what really wants my attention?’ Ask what wants your attention right now and look into the body. Feel the throat, the chest, the belly. Another really good question is ‘what am I believing right now?’ Because I find for myself when I’m in a bad mood, usually I’m believing that in some way I fell short. I’m failing in some way.

And if I can identify it consciously, it doesn’t affect me as much. The single most valuable finale with investigating is to ask the part of you that feels most vulnerable: ‘so what do you need?’ Is it love? Acceptance? Forgiveness? Feeling accompanied? Feeling embraced? Feeling safe?

The last letter in RAIN is “N,” which stands for nurture. Explain this one.

This step is all about learning to be kind to yourself and offering yourself what is needed. Often, to fight through the feelings of shame or anxiety, we have to work at this. The way I often do it is I put my hand on my heart and I’ll say, “it’s okay sweetheart.” Or you might just say to yourself, “I love you,” or, “It’s okay, I’m here. I’m not leaving.”

Does mindfulness become easier the more you practice it?

Whatever you practice gets stronger. If you practice judging yourself every day, that gets stronger. If you practice recognizing, allowing, investigating, nurturing, that gets stronger and also quicker.

The real gift is that we start trusting our goodness. We start trusting the love and the awareness. Not only that, we start looking at each other and seeing that too. If we can trust the goodness, then we can help to bring it out in ourselves and each other.

Read “Feeling Anxious? Here’s a Quick Tool To Center Your Soul” on the NPR website. Listen to the interview below.

Source: NPR | Feeling Anxious? Here’s a Quick Tool To Center Your Soul, https://www.npr.org/2020/02/03/802347757/a-conversation-with-tara-brach-mindfulness-tools-for-big-feelings | © 2020 npr

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