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How to Use the RAIN Method for Difficult Emotions

The initial response to negative emotions is to suppress them. After all, society tells us that this is what we must do to remain happy—ignore any negative thoughts and focus only on the sunshine, rainbows, and butterflies of life.

However, this life view not only fails to address the complex tangle that is the human psyche, but it can also confine you to only one little bit of your psyche and make you feel even worse. So, what can you do? If you’re struggling, the RAIN method and/or anxiety treatment might be for you.

What is the RAIN Method?

The RAIN method is a powerful mindfulness process developed by Michelle McDonald. It’s rooted in the mindfulness movement, which emphasizes maintaining awareness of your surroundings, thoughts, and feelings without judgment.

By recognizing and allowing your experiences, investigating them with curiosity, and nurturing yourself with compassion, the RAIN method offers a transformative practice for personal growth and healing.

The RAIN acronym stands for:

  • Recognize
  • Accept
  • Investigate
  • Not-identify

This framework gives you an easy way to start acclimating yourself to mindfulness and can be very helpful in dealing with heavy emotions for some. So, what exactly do these steps entail?


Take a moment to pause and carefully observe the emotions or thoughts that might be causing you distress. It could be that you’re feeling upset with your boss, your partner, or perhaps even someone else entirely. Start by identifying and naming the specific emotions you’re experiencing, such as “annoyance,” “feeling overwhelmed with work,” or “displeased with my own reaction.”

Remember, these emotions should be acknowledged without any judgment as good or bad. This process allows you to gain a deeper understanding of your emotional state, leading to the realization, “Ah, so that’s what I was feeling.” It’s remarkable how this simple step alone can provide a sense of relief by offering clarity about what’s truly happening in your own mind.


The letter “A” in this context can represent various other words, such as “acknowledge” or “allow.” However, the underlying concept remains the same: it is crucial to recognize and accept the difficult emotions you are currently experiencing as your reality. Rather than suppressing these emotions and allowing them to fester in the depths of your consciousness, only to resurface at inconvenient moments, it is important to bring them to the forefront of your mind.

Embrace them and say to yourself, “Yes, this is how I’m feeling,” without attempting to change or dismiss them. While this process may be uncomfortable, it is essential to treat yourself with kindness and avoid unnecessary self-criticism.


When trying to approach your thoughts, it can be helpful to cultivate an attitude of curiousness. Take a moment to inquire about the emotions you’ve been carrying. Ask yourself questions such as: How did this start? Have I felt this way before? What actions do I need to take?

It’s important to note that these questions are not meant to be a form of psychoanalysis, but rather a friendly and open-ended interview with yourself. By adopting this approach, you can gain a deeper understanding of the various elements that make up the emotion wheel, going beyond the main negative feeling. Exploring these additional details can provide valuable insights into your emotional landscape.


When you have a negative emotion, you can feel like it’s the only part of you that matters at that time. Non-identification means that you should acknowledge that you are a whole person, and this difficult emotion is just a tiny, fleeting part of who you are. Simply see the negative thoughts scrolling past you, mainly caused by outside forces, and detach yourself from them.

Of course, everyone is different, and this process may not work for everyone, or it may require some practice the first few times. But for those who would like to be more open to their emotions — even the difficult ones—the RAIN method is a way to foray into the territory without becoming totally consumed by it.

Get Help With Your Mental Health From Harmony

If you’re struggling with negative emotions and would like additional support, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional. At Harmony, our compassionate staff is dedicated to helping individuals of all backgrounds overcome mental health challenges with anxiety treatment. With a range of therapy options including individual counseling, group therapy, and medication management services, we can provide personalized care to suit your unique needs.

Don’t let difficult emotions hold you back any longer—contact Harmony today and take the first step towards emotional peace and inner harmony. For new clients, please click here to schedule an appointment. For existing clients, please click here and find your office location to contact your office directly.