Rain can be a beautiful, wondrous thing. For some, it’s a reason to put up the umbrella or run indoors. But for others, it’s a welcome opportunity to pause, reflect and enjoy the calming effects of this cooling natural phenomenon.
It’s in these moments of contemplation that intentional thinking can begin to develop. The hushed silence and refreshing mist can offer us the perfect space for reflecting on what we really want out of life. And how we can work towards achieving it.
The world is slowly grows warmer and people are becoming increasingly burnt out and frazzled. So, something as simple as a moment in the rain can lead to the discovery of unexpected profundities and truths.
Our perception of reality is often shaped by our most active thoughts. The more you fixate on worries or anxieties, the more present they can feel in your life. Subsequently, the more you focus on things that nourish you rather than bog you down, the easier it can be to find internal peace and happiness.
Intentional thinking can help you to not only understand your thoughts, feelings, and needs better. And it can also aid in the process of making them a reality.
What Is Intentional Thinking?
Intentional thinking is the action of observing your thoughts rather than letting them control you. Using the power of intention, you can break away from toxic thought patterns. Then start using them as tools to construct the reality of your choosing.
Thoughts can often feel like the truth, no matter how anxiety-fuelled or irrational they may actually be. In fact, many of the things we think are driven more by past experiences, traumas or fears than they are by logic and truth.
While total control over the thoughts we have is simply not possible, removing their power to govern our experiences is a valuable skill to learn. The more we can objectively perceive our thoughts, the freer we will be to create a reality in which we thrive.
Without the bias of our mind’s learned behaviours and irrational predictions, we can start to see ourselves and our lives with more clarity.
Intentional thinking is about challenging those instinctively destructive thoughts with gentle curiosity and observation.
Like any skill, intentional thinking is more of a process than a destination. It takes daily effort before tangible change can occur. Try not to criticise yourself for being anxious or afraid. Consider what might happen if you take a moment to reflect on why those thoughts exist and whether they’re really worth the energy they take up.
Maybe they are taking up more mental and emotional space than what is necessary? You won’t know unless you ask.
How Can Rain Influence Our Mental State?
The weather can influence mood more than you might realise. The presence or absence of light, fluctuating temperatures, and even level of cloud cover has the ability to shape our internal worlds, whether we want them to or not.
Those that live in cities like London that are often grey and rainy, or places like Alaska that get limited sun are all too familiar with the seasonal depression that a lack of sunlight can cause. But that doesn’t mean rain can’t sometimes have a positive effect on mood.
In fact, the reason grey weather makes us feel sad is often just because it makes us reflective. That can lead to some sombre realisations. And while rain tends to make some people feel glum, there are studies that indicate that rain lovers are happier and more self-aware people.
Let’s dive into some of the ways in which rain can produce positive emotions rather than negative ones and help us on the journey to practising intentional thinking.
Makes us feel calm
For many people, the appearance of rain can have a calming effect on the mind. The combination of cool, refreshing raindrops, muted skylines and glistening nature forces us to slow down. This relaxes us into our bodies and gives us a moment to enjoy the crisp air.
By comparison, the hot, sunshine-filled weather can be intense and overly stimulating, placing more attention onto the physical body than the mind. Cool, rainy weather produces the opposite effect: calming, reflective, and heightened mental awareness.
Sounds like white noise
One of the other reasons rain helps us to feel calm is because it produces a sound very similar to that of white noise. White noise is a frequency operating at 20 to 20,000 hertz. The brain responds to by decreasing the need for sensory input.
When the brain picks up on the white noise, it essentially communicates with the rest of the body to soften, relax, and get ready for sleep. Many people play white noise while falling asleep in order to speed up the transition into an REM state.
The sounds that rain produces may encourage us to relax. But other sensations delivered by rain can heighten our observational abilities. When the sun is out, we tend to be more easily distracted, focusing on the warmth and illumination that surrounds us.
But when it’s raining, our attention shifts inward, inviting us to observe our mental and emotional states with more clarity. As the world is hushed by the soothing pitter-patter of rain, so does the indescribable space between heart, mind, and soul. This creates a sense of calm that you can carry through to every part of your life.
Helps us reflect
What better time to reflect than while the rain is pouring outside? While the moody shades of blue, grey, and white might cause some to feel down, for others, it can open up a rare opportunity for self-reflection and contemplation.
Use The RAIN Technique For Intentional Thinking
In the early 2000s, a Vipassana teacher named Michele McDonald developed the acronym RAIN, which stands for Recognise, Allow, Investigate, and Natural awareness.
When you feel overwhelmed by anxious or intrusive thoughts, the principles of RAIN encourage you to recognise them for what they are. Allow them to exist, investigate their origin, and maintain a state of natural awareness to achieve clarity.
If you want to become more of an intentional thinker, perhaps the rain can be your guide.