Do you ever notice your emotions get the best of you when confronted with conflict?
Maybe your partner didn’t react the way you were expecting when you shared something important going on in your life and it made you angry!
Maybe your family made you feel less important by their words or actions as compared to others.
Maybe it was the look a friend gave you when you were expecting a more excited reaction which made your emotional response go haywire.
If you can relate to any of the above, you are not alone!
It’s easy to get lost in your reaction or emotional response to things that sometimes it can be difficult to reflect on what’s truly happening in the present.
If you can relate to this, the good news is you don’t have to feel this way forever and there are ways in which to help better process your emotions so that you aren’t getting lost in them!
Mindfulness can be a useful way to reflect on the present moment. It can help you become more attuned to your environment and the thoughts that you have that dictate your responses.
Mindfulness, in general, can be incorporated into your daily life as a practice of self-care and there are some mindfulness exercises that are designed to be more helpful in times of conflict.
So, you may be wondering how mindfulness can help in times of emotional distress and I’m here to help you learn just that!
The main exercise we are going to focus on is RAIN Mindfulness. Rain mindfulness is particularly useful in a conflict in which needs are unmet. This helps you pause and take the moment to reflect on what you are needing from the other person involved. It is a four-step process that can help you have more compassion for yourself and change the way that you think.
Below is the acronym RAIN and some questions you can ask yourself to help with processing in the moment:
R – Recognize and identify the exact emotion you are feeling: recognizing what is happening in the moment can bring you into a grounding space when you are otherwise being reactive and controlled by your emotions. Take a moment to pause and identify exactly what emotion you are feeling and whether it’s appropriate for the given situation.
A – Allow; accept that you are feeling the emotion and work through it rather than try to push away or stifle it: avoidance of the strong emotions will only make them that much stronger. It’s ok to have a negative reaction to something. Allow yourself to feel those emotions as they come. We are only human after all!
I – Interrogate with kindness- “What is my belief?” “What emotional response wants the most attention?” “What does this tell me about what my unmet needs are?”
Once you identify what your core need within the conflict is, take a moment to look for instances where the opposite has been the case.
IE- if I get upset when my partner teases me for using a word incorrectly, that would trigger my core need to feel secure in my intelligence. On the other hand, how many times have I made fun of myself for using the wrong word and laughed it off with ease? We can sometimes hold our partner to a higher standard of care than we do for our own self. That does not mean that your feelings about your partner aren’t valid, just that getting lost in the emotional response isn’t the most productive tact.
N – Non-identification: recognize that what you are feeling in that moment does not define who you are or who you want to be. Our feelings are always valid and important. The most important part here is to not get lost in them to the point where you feel like you are a bad person because you got angry with your partner or that you aren’t capable of loving someone with grace. We all go through moments of regret about how we reacted to something and what’s most important is to learn from our mistakes to not let them take control of how you perceive yourself because they don’t define you.
RAIN mindfulness is an excellent way to help you process what is going on in the present rather than get lost in your emotions. I encourage you to practice using this method whenever you feel like you’ve lost control of your emotional response to someone important to you during times of conflict.
You don’t have to let your emotions get the best of you. If you are struggling with processing difficult emotions, you do not have to go at it alone! Solid Foundations Therapy is here to help. Visit our website at www.solidfoundationstherapy.com or give us a call at 630-633-8532 today!