by Justin Standfield
No. 4 They don’t try to avoid or deny their emotions.
It’s funny, because we sometimes have an image of mindfulness as being a state of complete peace where our mind exists as some massive blank, white canvas that’s completely absent of any emotions (especially negative ones!). In reality, mindfulness training cautions people against trying to avoid or deny unpleasant feelings; instead, mindfulness encourages a willingness to simply be present with ‘what is’ and this brings about a different quality of attention. One of the approaches that Incendo uses is the RAIN technique (RAIN stands for Recognise, Allow, Investigate, Non-identification), which helps people to inquire into whatever arises when being mindful.
At first, turning our attention towards our emotions can feel a bit foreign as so many of us are used to a culture of denying or running away from any sort of pain. However, psychologist and mindfulness author, Dr. Elisha Goldstein, says “Isn’t it time to begin acknowledging stress, anxiety or pain rather than suppressing, repressing, or all-too-quickly medicating it?”.