The SAIN framework for dealing with Difficult Emotions.

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Buddhist meditation teacher and author Michael Stone developed an acronym-based model for working with strong emotions: SAIN 1—Stop, Allow, Investigate, Non-identification.


  • It begins with stopping; how to meet the present moment with stillness without adding anything extra? When the tidal waves come, can you stop?

A: Allow or Accept

  • To allow what’s moving through the body to fully arrive, to really feel it. You can’t allow something into awareness if you can’t stop.

I: investigate.

  • Check it out. How is this showing up? Where is it showing up in my body? Ask every question, but why? Why is an invitation for the storyteller to get involved a move away from the body into abstraction? How to stay with physical sensations?

N: non-identification

  • When you have a stressful emotion show up, and you can stop, know what it is, and be curious about your experience, then you can arrive at the last step, which is to fully become the emotion. The shivering puddle. These steps are not just a way to work with negative emotions but also positive ones. When you’re really excited let the feelings come without identifying with them. Feelings are not I, me, mine. This is a recipe for getting closer and more intimate with experience.

SAIN 2 (in French it means health): Stop, Accept, Investigate, Non-Identification. Stop means recognizing that there’s a mood. Maybe you want to label it. Accept means allowing the mood to be there, instead of pushing it away, or allowing it to overtake you. Investigate means going into the body and seeing where the sensations are. What are the exact physical sensations and where are they? Non-identification is about becoming the energy, but not identifying with the energy. This is a practice that can be done anytime, you don’t have to wait for a tsunami of emotion to strike. In fact, without the preparation and steady practice in working with “smaller” moods, it’s hard to deal with the big swings.

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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