top of page

(willingness to feel)


If you are on this skills page, you are likely experiencing a painful or difficult emotion.


Creating space or opening up to feelings reduces suffering.


Remember, you don't have to like or want the feeling, but can you allow it to be here as part of your experience right now? 


Skill Descriptions

Explore skill descriptions, audios and videos below.  

Try something new or return to your favorite.

Skill Descriptions


Emotions are full body experiences. See if you can notice where you feel the emotion most intensely in your body. Maybe its in your chest or your abdomen or maybe it is somewhere else. Consider placing a hand on the part of your body, See if you can send some warmth and kindness to the feeling. Hold the emotion gently, with compassion, for several cycles of breath.

A Kind Hand

Breathe into It


See if you can take a moment to notice the emotion that you are feeling. Maybe you can sense it somewhere in your body; maybe it feels like it is in your head, shoulders or chest; maybe it feels like tightness in your muscles or a pit in your stomach. See if you can visualize the emotion, maybe give it a shape or a color,. Now, send your breath to the places where you feel it most strongly. let your breath flow into and around the emotion. Breathe with the emotion. You have it, it doesn't have you.

Struggle Switch


Human beings experience painful thoughts, feelings, and memories just as a result of living: Life turns on the pain switch. We don't get to control that. We do get to control the struggle switch: the extent to which we struggle with our pain. When the struggle switch is on, our pain is amplified. See if, in this moment, you can turn off the struggle switch and allow pain as it is.

Redirect Energy


Consider how much time and effort is going toward avoiding feelings. What would it be like to stop wasting energy on avoiding pain, and instead turn that energy to things that you care about or are meaningful to you.

Invite it In


Feelings are guests in our home. Some are here only for a moment and some stick around longer. Notice what you are feeling in this moment. What would it be like to invite that feeling in, as a guest in your home? Could you find a way to welcome it (even if it is an unwanted guest that is loud and disturbing)?

What's On The Other Side of The Coin?


Emotions sometimes signal something important, even or especically the most painful ones. If you are experiencing an emotion right now that is hard, consider "What would I have to give up if I am not willing to have this emotion ever again?" Oftentimes our most painful emotions are connected to things that are important to us; things that matter deeply to us, like our relationships with other people. Painful feelings and are values are "2 sides of the same coin." You can't toss one without tossing the other.



Emotions are like quicksand, the more you struggle, the more you sink. It's counterintuitive, but the way out of the struggle is to maximize contact. Practice contacting your emotional experience.



Difficult or painful emotions are part of living, and they come, whether we want them to or not. When we resist pain, we often suffer more. Practice allowing this difficult or painful emotion to be present. See if you can say to the feeling, "It is OK that you are here now." See if you can allow it to be present without it taking over.

Explore the Feeling


Slow down and notice the feeling that you are having. See if you can be curious about it, rather than needing it to go away. Where do you experience it in your body? (in your chest? your stomach?). If it had a color, a temperature, a texture, or sound...what would it be? If this feeling could talk what might it say? Does it have a need?

LIFE Feelings


Is this a LIFE feeling? When we are engaged in our lives, doing things that matter to us, there is the potential to feel and feel deeply. The potential for  pain comes from caring. Only if you have loved do you know loss. Can you let yourself have the feelings that come from living a full life as a conscious, human being?


Take a moment to notice the feeling you are having. See if you can create a little more space for the feeling to be there, maybe by breathing some air around it. You don’t have to want it or like it, but can you make space for it? Making space for it can allow you to approach or stick to things that are hard.

Give it Space

Take the Feeling Along for The Ride


Feelings are like passengers, they can come along for the ride, but they don't get to drive! Anxiety shows up when your headed to a show? That's OK. Let it come along. Sadness shows up as you think about shows you have missed? It can come too! All of these feelings can come along for the ride while you travel in the direction of your values.

Emotional Waves


Emotions are like waves. Practice letting them have their natural rhythm of rising and falling. Imagine that you are standing on the beach, and the waves wash over you while you stay standing. See if you can sense. the gentle rise and fall.

Urge Surfing


Urges feel like they will last forever and that we need to listen to them in order to experience relief. Try this instead: Acknowledge the urge, but don't do the action, Delay it. Use the urge as a signal for self-reflection (What else am I feeling now? sadness? anxiety?). Address any need the urge is communicating (for example, the need for social support), and ride the wave.

Acceptance of Thoughts and Feelings

(Audio - 12 min)

(from Portland Psychotherapy)

00:00 / 01:04

Acceptance of Anxiety

(Audio - 12 min)

(from Portland Psychotherapy)

00:00 / 01:04

Soften Soothe and Allow: Working with Emotions in the Body

(Audio - 16 min)

(from Kristin Neff)

00:00 / 01:04

RAIN Meditation 

(Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture)

(Audio - 20 min)

(from Tara Brach)

00:00 / 20:08

The Unwelcome Party Guest

(Video - 4 min)

The Struggle Switch

(Video - 3 min)

Beach Ball

(Video - 3 min)

bottom of page