The RAIN Framework

Tara Brach
Listen

20 min

A person sitting at the edge of a dock
Audio from Tara Brach

When we face challenging circumstances or unwanted change, we often experience emotions that mirror the stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, sadness. Since we haven’t experienced an acute loss like a death, however, we don’t always acknowledge the intense emotions that accompany big changes. If we don’t process those emotions, we can get stuck ruminating, which keeps us from being able to move forward effectively. 

That’s where the RAIN framework comes in. Developed by psychologist and Buddhist meditation expert Tara Brach, the RAIN framework helps you find your footing in the wake of a challenging experience and move toward acceptance. As Brach describes it, RAIN is a practice of “radical compassion.” It asks you to treat yourself as you would a dear friend in need, with kindness, acceptance, compassion, and attention. 

You can listen to the audio in this activity for a guided experience, or do this one your own by reading the steps below.

Instructions

Step 1

Take a time out next time you notice yourself feeling emotionally off balance. Find a quiet place to sit and apply the RAIN framework to a challenge or change that you are currently struggling to process.

  • Recognize what’s going on. Acknowledge the thoughts you are having and the emotions you are experiencing
  • Allow. Let those thoughts and emotions just bem without trying to push them away or change them
  • Investigate with kindness. Ask yourself what’s really going on here. What wants attention? What belief does this reveal? Where is there an unmet need?
  • Nurture with self-compassion. Respond to what you’re experiencing with forgiveness and understanding. 

Step 2

Reflect on your experience with RAIN. 

  • How does it feel to acknowledge your emotional experiences? 
  • Do you tend to get stuck on a certain step of RAIN? 
  • How do you know when you’re “done” with your feelings, if ever?

RAIN is a tool and a mindset. Use it the next time you face a difficult situation, and see if it changes the way you feel about yourself.