When you touch a hot stove, as soon as you become aware of the pain, you immediately pull your hand away. You don’t let it rest on the burner in order to explore the pain. In the same way, we stay present with strong emotion only very briefly at first. The instruction is: short moments again and again. Rather than trying to endure prolonged exposure to intense feeling, we touch in for only two or three seconds, then pause and breathe gently before touching in again. Or we might simply stay with the troubling feeling for five or six minutes and then go on with our day, more in touch with our emotions and, therefore, less likely to be dragged around by them.
From Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chödrön, page 51