STOP – This is a tool to practice that hesitation between reaction and response. At any point throughout your day, or whenever you sense your body and emotions reacting to something, go through this acronym in your head.
S – Stop what you are doing, intentionally pause.
T – Take a breath, follow your breath in and out, feeling it as it enters your body.
O – Observe your thoughts, sensations, and emotions. Labeling them can help create a spacious and calming effect. For example, observe that your throat is tight, your forehead is scrunched, and you feel agitated.
P – Proceed with what will serve you in that moment. Perhaps just taking a breath was enough; perhaps you need to step back.
RAIN – This is a tool to work mindfully with emotions. When you feel your emotions escalating, use the RAIN acronym. You can also sit down at a later time and go back to that moment and follow the acronym to practice using it.
R – Recognition – Gently recognize and label your emotions, such as, fearful, angry, calm, sad, happy, and scared. This doesn't have to be exact, just pick the emotion as close as you can recognize at the moment.
A – Acceptance - Whatever you are experiencing right now is ok. It's your experience. The feeling itself is natural and that is what we are accepting. What we do with the feeling is the other story.
I – Investigation – Tune into how that emotion feels in the body. Instead of getting lost in the story or the worry that the emotion is creating, what is happening right now in your body. Is your chest tight? Is your forehead furrowed? Is your throat clenched? Noticing what is happening right now will calm the stories your mind is creating, stories that are only partially true, if that.
N – Non-identification – This means not taking your emotions personally, recognizing that we all have emotions and they will pass. Instead of thinking “I am angry,” it can help to dissociate by thinking, “I have anger.” This is not always easy, but the practice will get faster and easier the more you do it.
Just Like Me – This practice supports empathy, compassion, and non-judgment by helping us see commonalities instead of differences.
When you feel frustrated with someone …
- a person who is in the emergency room for something that perhaps you think they shouldn't have been doing anyway;
- the person who just cut in front of you;
- The person, who is driving very slowly, or even just the speed limit, and you are in a hurry; etc.
Think … this person wants to be happy just like me. Everybody chooses actions they think will increase their happiness, whether we agree with those actions or not.
Example Just like me statements:
Just like me, this person wishes to be happy.
Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering.
Just like me, this person has seen sadness or loneliness, and is seeking to fulfill his or her needs.
Loving Kindness – Opening up a kind heart to ourselves and others is the beginning of understanding.
There are many ways one could use Loving Kindness Meditation.
- Toward yourself. Simply work on it until you can really feel love and warmth toward yourself.
- Toward others you love.
- Toward others with whom you have a difficult relationship. For example, before meetings with these people.
- All of the above!
May (I) be happy.
May (I) be safe.
May (I) be healthy.
May (I) live with ease.
May (I) be happy and peaceful.
May (I) be safe and free from harm.
May (I) be physically and mentally healthy and strong.
May (I) live with the ease of an open heart.
- The feeling of the verse is more important than the words.
- If you are having trouble feeling warmth, try thinking of a favorite person or a pet.
- This practice can evolve into a long meditation or can simply be a 3 minute practice when needed.
Downloadable Suggested Practices Document (PDF version will open in a new window)