How to Deal With Difficult Thoughts Using RAIN


When we practice mindfulness or meditate, we often come up against a flood of disturbing thoughts and emotions. It takes some work to deal with these, and many people end up frustrated and give up. We’re not going to do that.

We have tools. We can make RAIN.

The concept of RAIN is pretty simple. It’s an acronym that stands for Recognize, Accept, Investigate, Non-Identify. It works with almost anything that comes up during meditation that distracts you from quiet and the present moment. It also guards against getting caught in a loop where you obsess over the thing that’s causing you concern.

The Four Steps of RAIN

There are four steps, for each letter of RAIN. I’ll detail these below. Feel free to use this method whenever you come up against a tough spot while meditating or practicing mindfulness.


When a distraction comes up, you first have to recognize that it’s a problem. If you’re meditating and a memory comes up that really takes you off track, and it doesn’t go away, just stop and bring that thought into your awareness. Hold it there while you ask yourself what you’re experiencing.


This is simply accepting, or allowing this thought to be here right now. Don’t actively try to push it away or bury it. More likely than not, it needs to be dealt with. If not, it will keep coming up and distracting you. This can lead to frustration and anger, so best to just allow this to exist for the moment. ALLOW this thought or emotion to flow through you and leave on it’s own.


Watch the thought or emotion and see what it does to you. Become aware of any feelings that are present. Are you angry? Are your muscles stiffening up? Is your jaw clenching? Do you feel frightened? Sad? Happy? Excited? Make a mental note of your complete experience in regard to this disturbance.


Don’t label yourself or associate yourself with this disturbance. Understand that it is a temporary thing, and not who you are. It’s a state that flows through your body and consciousness, but like water through a strainer, it will leave you at some point. Don’t hold on to it. Let go and watch it leave.

Find more about this here.


2 thoughts on “Four Steps of RAIN”

  1. Thank you! This acronym is awesome and helps me greatly! I would like to continue connecting with you. I am a mental health specialist on my journey trying to decide if licensing for professional counseling is a goal 🙂 I am spiritual and helping. To you and through you cause holding on to these effects the body too!

    • Thanks Sheri!

      I found that acronym and thought it would be good to share on this site. You should definitely get licensed! I think the world could use more professionals who like mindfulness and meditation, and can bridge that with hard science!


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