Grief is a very interesting emotional state of mind. It’s interesting because we all will, at one point or another, have to deal with the consequences of grief in our lifetime. It is interesting to me because we all deal with grief in our own way.
Some people hide and attempt to avoid the painful emotional experiences in their lives. In my experience when we try to avoid pain we actually run towards it. I believe I read that somewhere.
When I have dealt with grief in my life I usually ran the other way and what I noticed is that the grief seemed to hang around a lot longer. Now that I use mindfulness to watch my emotions, my strong emotions, like grief, seemed to still be there for me to deal with, but now it doesn’t stay as long as it once did.
Watching it arise and then putting it in its proper place has assisted me tremendously. I like to share some tools that I use to process the grief, or any strong emotions that arise.
I use the following acronym: RAIN
Here’s how it works. When I feel a strong emotion arising, for example grief, I usually feel it in my body. I can feel the emotions in my belly or feel my chest tighten up and my breathing becomes shallow. See for yourself where you feel the emotions. Maybe your jaw tightens up or you feel it somewhere in your body.
When I feel it then I start the R.A.I.N. process.
R = Recognize. I recognize the emotion to exist; usually it arises in the body for me.
A = Allow. I allow the feeling to be there. I feel it with my entire body and mind
I = Investigate. I investigate where the emotion has come from. Usually it’s from a thought that triggers in my mind and then it travels down into the body.
N = Nurture. I nurture the pain, sending kindness to the mind and body.
When I do that a few times, it usually takes away the intensity of the emotion. Now the emotion is still there, however I’m able to process it more quickly and I realize that it’s only an emotion that isn’t personal but just an emotion that travels through my body. Remember that everything is impermanent. I’ll go into impermanence in a future article.
Hope this tool helps when you are feeling a strong, intense emotions in your mind and body.