When you think of meditating, do you picture sitting in lotus, focusing on nothing but your breath? ‘Emptying your mind’ isn’t the only kind of meditation. You can do a relaxing body scan, practice a walking meditation or count your breaths. A little less known, but not less meaningful, is the loving-kindness mediation.
A loving-kindness meditation is a mindfulness technique used to increase feelings of warmth and goodwill towards yourself and others. As you might expect, experiencing warm feelings has several benefits for your wellbeing. In her book Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson shows how regularly practicing loving-kindness mediation produces positive emotions like joy, contentment and gratitude. Studies also found that doing loving-kindness meditation increases your compassion, helps you feel more connected and improves your self-image.
What’s less obvious, is that doing a loving-kindness mediation also supports your physical health. Because mindful awareness lowers your stress levels, having loving thoughts improves your vagal tone – a physiological marker of wellbeing – and decreases pain.
Sounds pretty good, right? If you also want to give your happiness, relationships and body image a boost, take a look at how you can do a loving-kindness meditation.