Today is Bell Lets Talk Day.
After an extraordinarily challenging year for so many people across the globe, “when it comes to mental health, now more than ever, every action counts.”
For many families at Canuck Place, the Covid-19 pandemic has meant isolation, increased stress and fear. Life-threatening illnesses don’t stop in a pandemic.
With so many people in our community navigating increased stress, grief and loneliness, we reached out to our incredible Canuck Place counsellors to suggest a helpful mindfulness technique to support your mental wellness, one that you can put into action for just a moment in your day.
The mindfulness technique RAIN, originally coined by Michele McDonald, a long-time meditation teacher, has been shared world-wide because of its power and simplicity. There are four principles for mindful transformation of difficulties, articulated with the acronym RAIN.
Recognize what is going on;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with kindness and care;
Nurture with self-compassion.
Recognizing means consciously acknowledging, in any given moment, the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are affecting you. This can be a done with a simple mental whisper, noting what you are most aware of.
A—Allow the Experience to be There, Just as It Is
Allowing means letting the thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations you have recognized simply be there, without trying to fix or avoid anything.
You might recognize fear, and allow by mentally whispering “it’s ok” or “this belongs” or “yes.”
Allowing creates a pause that makes it possible to deepen attention.
I—Investigate with Kindness and Care
To investigate, call on your natural curiosity—the desire to know truth—and direct a more focused attention to your present experience.
You might ask yourself: What most wants attention? How am I experiencing this in my body? What am I believing? What does this vulnerable place want from me? What does it most need?
Whatever the inquiry, your investigation will be most transformational if you step away from conceptualizing and bring your primary attention to the felt-sense in the body.
N—Nurture with Self-Compassion
Self-compassion begins to naturally arise in the moments that you recognize you are suffering. It comes into fullness as you intentionally nurture your inner life with self-care.
To do this, try to sense what the wounded, frightened or hurting place inside you most needs, and then offer some gesture of active care that might address this need. Does it need a message of reassurance? Of forgiveness? Of companionship? Of love?
Experiment and see which intentional gesture of kindness most helps to comfort, soften or open your heart. It might be the mental whisper, I’m here with you. I’m sorry, and I love you. I love you, and I’m listening. It’s not your fault. Trust in your goodness.
In addition to a whispered message of care, many people find healing by gently placing a hand on the heart or cheek; or by envisioning being bathed in or embraced by warm, radiant light. If it feels difficult to offer yourself love, bring to mind a loving being—spiritual figure, family member, friend or pet—and imagine that being’s love and wisdom flowing into you.
After the RAIN
When you’ve completed the active steps of RAIN, it’s important to notice the quality of your own presence and rest in that wakeful, tender space of awareness.
The fruit of RAIN is realizing that you are no longer imprisoned in or identified with any limiting sense of self. Give yourself the gift of becoming familiar with the truth and natural freedom of your being; it is mysterious and precious!