Mindfulness & Happiness – Tools
In this post I will provide basic instructions for several mind-body practices that allow calm equanimity both at rest and in action. We will cover RAIN, RAINDROP, Cloud Journeying, Gratitude, Tapping, and other Body-Based practices.
- RAIN (Tara Brach) – This simple to use approach helps you to maintain a cognitive focus, thus reducing limbic system reactivity. Simply say to yourself: “RAIN.” R is for recognition of what you are experiencing right now, right here. A is for radically accepting that you cannot simply avoid it; it is happening to you so you must accept it in this present moment. I is for investigate/interest. Bring sincere interest to the experience and investigate what is happening and why it is happening. N is for non-identification or no-self. Is this happening to me or just happening with me in the environment. After the RAIN analysis, simply breathe calmly and quiet down your emotional system. Think: “What should I do right now?” Do it! See what happens.
- RAINDROP (Michele McDonald) – Add to RAIN by cognitively considering if you are: (D) Distracted or aware of recognition, (R) Resisting or accepting, (O) Oblivious or interested/investigating, and (P) Personalizing or non-identifying? Stop the DROPs.
- Cloud Journeying (Mariam Gates & Sarah Jane Hinder) – Lying down comfortably with hands placed gently by your sides, breathe in and out slowly and deeply. Close your eyes and slightly extend your exhalation for 10 breaths. Keep the length and force of the exhalation steady for all ten breaths.
- Now allow yourself to imagine being lifted gently, floating into the air safely. Use your imagination and land yourself gently in any environment/place you desire your mind-body to be. Feel the peace and equanimity as your breathe deeply and slowly at that selected location. Rest there in your mind! Check to see if your emotional condition has improved.
- Deep Gratitude (David Whyte) – Rest, breathe calmly, and allow yourself to have gratitude for the simple things in your life. Have an inner conversation, in which you say sub-vocally “Thank you” for…… Repeat this process until you note at least ten simple things you do have right now in your life. Go deeper; appreciate the sacredness of your cherished human life. Breathe calmly and rest.
- Body Tapping – Callahan Technique or EFT (Amy Kurtz) – If trained to do so, try this tapping sequence. Take a few breaths and do your best to decide what emotional experience you wish to clear out of your reactive mind and body. For example “I am anxious.” Now begin your phrase or mantra: “Even though I am anxious, I love and accept myself.” Now with 2-3 finger tips tap on each of the following meridian points about 8 times and say your mantra out loud as you tap. Here is the point tapping sequence: a) softer side of hands between wrist and small finger; b) the spot where your inner eyebrows begin; c) outside of the eyes next to the side of each eye; d) upper part of eye sockets below the middle of the eye; e) center space between nose and upper lip; f) indented spot on chin below lower lip; g) the spot an inch below the lower edge of the breastbone next to your throat indentation; h) 3-4 inches below arm pits at at softer but dense area; and, i) the center of the crown of your head. Evaluate your emotional condition, and repeat this tapping sequence as needed. If things become worse, seek professional help. Remember, our emotions are very powerful human experiences.
- BE Your True Self (M. A. Singer, etc.) – Some key ways to counteract typical negative emotional habit formations are listed below. a) Recognize that your true spiritual self is the opposite of your ego-defensive, reactive self; b) mindfully recognize what part of your self is unhappy/disturbed when things do not go the way you want them to go; c) notice your defensive-ego, self-ideal protectiveness when you engage in repetitive, emotionally reactive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors – almost always stimulated by external events; d) understand that our brain and body are built to seek pleasure and avoid pain (Freud) and to respond to external experiences with pleasant or unpleasant internal “feeling” responses (The Buddha); e) Get into the cognitive habit of reframing all negative reactions – seek what alternative interpretation might apply; f) Note that when you live emotionally in the past, certain suppressed/repressed experiences stay alive emotionally in you; g) Recognize that when you live fearing the future, you again trap yourself in a negative expectancy syndrome; and, h) Practice this – breathe calmly, relax your body, do yoga and meditate, walk, calms your reactive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors – and consciously LET GO of the experiential reaction over and over and over again. Make this your practice. Things may improve.
- The Six Best Friends (The Buddha, etc.) – Whenever you experience pain and suffering, try this psycho-physiological intervention. Do these six things in a cycle; see if your inner experience improves. You may need to repeat the process. Smile, Breathe calmly and deeply, Sit, Stand still, Move your body, Walk a while, then try lying down for a couple minutes. Repeat as needed. Feeling any better?
There are many sources for these suggestions. The 6th item is based somewhat on Live Interview: M. A. Singer on The Untethered Soul…New Harbinger and Non-Duality Press. Retrieved 12-11-17.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont and the Home of The Monkton Sangha
Author of Mindful Happiness