Loving Kindness Meditation is a type of meditation in the yoga tradition that cultivates loving well wishes of happiness, ease and contentment to oneself, others, and all beings.
If you find yourself consumed by negative thoughts, the Loving Kindness Meditation is a great way to bring in the opposite.
For example, take a moment to pause and observe the quality of your thoughts. Do they come and go quickly? Do thoughts stay and linger? Do you find yourself ruminating? What type of thoughts do you have? Is your inner critic online? Do you send yourself positive messages?
The Study of Loving Kindness
Loving Kindness Meditation has a lot of research behind it. This meditation has shown to increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotions (Fredrickson, Cohn, Coffey, Pek & Finkel, 2008). Another study notes that Loving Kindness Meditation increases vagal tone (a health indicator of the vagus nerve) and perceptions of social connection (Kok et al., 2013).
Fighting Negative Self-Talk
If you experience challenges with mental health, you likely experience negative self-talk. Those thoughts where you critique yourself, ruminate on negativity and bring yourself down. Often unfairly. This might look like “I’m not as smart as ____” or “I’ll never get it right, I shouldn’t even try.”
It is important for our well-being to become aware of negative thoughts and to promote compassion and positivity. It is a lot easier when positive emotions and thoughts are accessible. Embark on the daily practice of Loving Kindness Meditation to increase your ability to feel emotions such as love, joy, gratitude, contentment, hope and awe.
How to Practice Loving Kindness Meditation
The practice of Loving Kindness Meditation is most effective when practiced daily.
Come to a comfortable place. You can complete this meditation seated, lying down or even walking.
Take a few deep breaths. Bring your attention inward. Bring to mind the image of yourself. You can hold the image of yourself at any age. If it’s challenging to visualize yourself, you might even look at yourself through the lens of a loved one.
Offer yourself the following words:
May I be happy and healthy.
May I be safe and protected.
May I give and receive love.
May I live life with ease.
If you would like, after completing the meditation towards yourself you might visualize a loved one to send well wishes to, an acquaintance, or even someone you have a difficult relationship with. You could also send well wishes to all beings everywhere.
You may offer another the following words:
May you be happy and healthy
May you be safe and protected.
May you give and receive love.
May you live life with ease.
When you complete the Loving Kindness Meditations. Remain in stillness or quietness (if walking) to pause and observe any lingering effects of the meditation. You might notice emotions, sensations, thoughts. Allow your experience to be as is, without judgement.
Dana Saad, LCSW, RYT 200
Key Therapy Counseling
Twice a week I offer a 90-minute online yoga class called "Yoga for Mind Body Wellness". Would love to have you join me.
About the Author
Dana Saad is a Registered Yoga Teacher and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In addition to conducting private individual counseling at Key Therapy Counseling, she also holds weekly yoga classes (see list of classes here). She completed her yoga training at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health and has pursued additional training in Trauma-Informed Yoga (through Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga) and Yoga Nidra (through the iRest Institute). Her Trauma-Informed Yoga classes incorporate a mindful approach to trauma processing, deep relaxation, and mind/body balancing intended to treat current symptoms related to an overactive nervous system