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wellness / mental health

Meditation for Kindness

by BetterSleep
Jul 29 • 5 min read
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Loving-kindness meditation has the potential to reduce stress and enhance well-being. Regular practice helps to increase our capacity to forgive and care for others and to have more kindness for ourselves.

While all types of meditation are geared towards improving well-being, loving-kindness meditation focuses on directing goodwill to ourselves and others. Because, if you can learn love and kindness for yourself, you’ll be in the right frame of mind to give it to others.

Benefits of Loving-Kindness Meditation

Loving-kindness meditation is a good place to start if you’re new to meditation. It’s also beneficial if you constantly criticize yourself or others. The many benefits include:

Decrease Tension and Migraine Pain

If you suffer from frequent migraines, loving-kindness meditation has shown in research to relieve pain, even after one session. Pain in participants was reportedly reduced by 33-43%!

Increase Compassion and Empathy

Loving-kindness meditation helps to increase compassion and empathy for yourself and others.

Reduce Constant Self-Criticism

Loving-kindness can be beneficial if you suffer from anxiety and find it hard to quiet your inner critic. With regular practice, you’ll learn to focus on the good and be a little kinder to yourself.

Enhance Belonging and Social Connectedness

Fostering empathy for others also increases our sense of social connectedness. One study even found loving-kindness meditation to increase the feeling of connectedness to nature.

Slow the Aging Process

Telomeres are a length marker for aging. A long telomere length shows you’re biologically younger. A study of women practicing loving-kindness meditation found them significantly more likely to have longer telomeres.

How to Get Started with Loving-Kindness Meditation

There are multiple ways to practice loving-kindness meditation, but each method has you generating kind thoughts for yourself and others. Follow these simple steps to get started:

  • Sit comfortably in a quiet space.
  • Visualize yourself feeling completely well and at peace. Thank yourself for being who you are, and imagine feeling complete love for yourself.
  • Breathe out negativity and tension. Breathe in inner peace, love, and acceptance for yourself and others.
  • Repeat three positive phrases out loud or in your mind. Examples are: may I be safe, may I be happy, and may I give and receive appreciation.
  • Enjoy the feelings of love, compassion, and warmth for a few minutes while focusing on your breathing.
  • If your focus drifts away, gently bring it back to your feelings of loving compassion.
  • Stay focused on yourself, or you can turn your attention to others.
  • Picture a family member or friend in your life.
  • Feel love and gratitude for them. Repeat your positive phrases.
  • Stay focused on this one person and yourself. Or, you can bring other people into your visualizations.
  • After 5 – 10 minutes, gently open your eyes.
  • Re-visit these thoughts of loving kindness throughout the day, especially in times of stress or negativity.

As you become more adept at loving-kindness meditation, you can begin to visualize others in your practice. This might include people in hard situations around the world or someone who’s done you wrong in the past, and you want to forgive.

To help relax and tune out the world around you, download BetterSleep to enjoy soothing sounds and chilled meditation music.

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