Cultivating Positive Emotions: Loving-Kindness Meditation

Ever feel disconnected from the people around you and yourself? Try loving-kindness meditation. A type of meditation, loving-kindness meditation cultivates positive emotions. These emotions that run the gamut from pride to gratitude. In turn, we accept ourselves, become healthier and develop mindful thinking.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
— Aesop

With this type of meditation, we accept others and ourselves. If you ever felt disconnected from the world, loving kindness can help you build social connection. We start to treat ourselves and others with more empathy and compassion.

The loving attitude generated by daily loving-kindness meditation also:

  • Increases resilience.
  • Increases control over mood.
  • Increases will power.
  • Increases our sense of purpose.

One warning: We won’t see results overnight. The results build over time.

To start loving-kindness meditation, first you direct positive emotions and well wishes toward yourself. These can be wishes for love, health, happiness, safety, even financial security.

Move those thoughts from yourself to friends and loved ones.

Then direct those wishes toward a neutral party, maybe someone you pass on the street every day.

Then, guide kindness towards people you feel are suffering or people you feel have treated you poorly.

Need to hear some examples? Here are some guided meditations to get you started your meditation practice.

Free Guided Meditations (UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center)

Self-Compassion Guided Meditations and Exercises (Self Compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff)

There’s no wrong way to include loving-kindness meditation in your daily life. Some people may meditate on these feelings for five to 10 minutes in the morning. You can make it a longer practice, if you like. Alternatively, you can take a few moments throughout your day.

References

Journal Of Clinical Psychology [J Clin Psychol] 2009 May; Vol. 65 (5), pp. 499-509.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 95(5), Nov, 2008. pp. 1045-1062

Emotion, Vol 8(5), October 2008. pp 720-724