Living Mindfully: When Angst is Present

When angst is present:  Waking up to angst, realizing that angst is present can be unsettling to say the least. How does one know when angst is present? It varies for each person. It may be a sense of buzzing throughout the body – like an electrical wire of energy pulsating and vibrating. It may be a sense of dread in the heart and abdomen area. It could be tension in the jaw, shoulders, back. It could be all of this or none of this. Angst arrives in varying forms.

Tara Brach in her book, “True Refuge,” educates the reader on the acronym RAIN (Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Natural). RAIN provides guidance when we are struggling, or find ourselves in moments of reactivity. The moments when we realize, ‘Oh I’m struggling’ is when we take the first step to recognize where we are in the present moment.  With this recognition we can pause and move into the second step of allowing. Allow the feelings, thoughts, emotions to be what they are. The 3rd step ‘investigates’ with kindness. Without kindness and compassion towards ourselves, it is likely we are prone to self judgment and self criticism, “I need to do this! I should do this! Why can’t I do this?” Investigating with kindness is the turning toward the feeling, emotion, and thought, or bodily sensations. Perhaps, in this step asking yourself, “What most wants my attention? Is it my body? Is it my emotions? Is it my thoughts?” The fourth part of RAIN is ‘natural awareness’ with what is present. Resting in this natural awareness and accepting what is present, at this moment. [For more information on Tara Brach visit]

Mindful Invitation: If you find that angst is present for you today, perhaps, take a moment to pause and ask yourself, “What most wants my attention?”  For some this may be bodily sensations and the need to release tension, or label a thought as a thought, or acknowledge passing feelings and emotions. There is no need to change anything, or force a direction.  Throughout your day, take 2-3 times to breath into your awareness with gentleness, kindness, and compassion breathing slowly in and breathing slowly out. Just being in the moment.

Today’s Quote: “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” Eckhart Tolle

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