A 12-Minute Meditation for Challenging Emotions

In this guided meditation, we use a technique based on Dan Siegel’s Name It to Tame It to be with challenging emotions in a way that’s accepting and self-compassionate.

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We all have moments that bring up challenging emotions for us, and it can be difficult to know how to deal with them when they inevitably arise. 

Kim invites us to view this practice like a lighthouse guiding ships through the stormy seas of the mind. This guided meditation offers a sanctuary for those seeking to face and process difficult emotions with grace. 

Kim’s approach involves grounding techniques to establish a sense of presence, identifying and naming emotions to acknowledge them fully, exploring the physical sensations tied to these emotions, and finally enveloping oneself in tenderness and compassion through touch, words, or visualization.

A Guided Meditation for Challenging Emotions

A 12-Minute Meditation for Challenging Emotions by Kim Armstrong

  1. Begin by finding a comfortable posture of your choice. You can do this practice while sitting, standing, or lying down. Shift your body to find what’s comfortable. 
  2. Whenever you feel ready, close your eyes. If closing your eyes is uncomfortable for you, you can simply lower your eyes and soften your gaze.   
  3. Take a few relaxing breaths. Close your mouth and breathe in slowly through your nose. Then let it out through either your nose or your mouth.
  4. Let’s start with the “R” of REST. The “R” of rest invites us to begin by relaxing our attention. Allow your attention to completely relax from any need to be focused or fixated. If you notice that your attention becomes fixated or distracted, that’s okay. Simply begin again and just relax.  
  5. Next, draw your attention to a sensation in your body as a way of grounding. This could be the feeling of your feet on the ground, your hands resting on your thighs, or your bottom in the chair. Just notice it. 
  6. Now, go to a memory of the last week or so, where there has been some sort of challenging emotion. Pick something that doesn’t feel too overwhelming.
  7. See if you can simply notice with curiosity and kindness what was going on for you. What thoughts and feelings were you having about the experience?  
  8. Gently name the feeling(s) to yourself, as if you were greeting it in passing.  Name it like you’re validating the experience and the emotion of someone that you care for. Fear, anger, shame, etc. You might even greet them like you would a passing neighbor, not lingering, but just acknowledging. Hello, despair. I see you there. 
  9. Tune into your body as you experience that emotion. Notice where you are experiencing this emotion in your body—maybe like a tightness in your chest, a tingling, a fluttering, tension in your hands or feet. 
  10. Now, place a soothing hand, even just imagining it somewhere, on your body that would feel comforting to you. This could be placing your hand on your heart, or giving yourself a hug—whatever would feel soothing and reassuring. 
  11. You might also gently say some words to yourself. For example, May I feel ease in this moment. May I get through this challenging emotion with curiosity and compassion. I know I’m doing my best.
  12. Thank you for your practice today. I hope you found it supportive.