You may face situations that are challenging and perhaps even overwhelming each day. You may be “tested” at the expense of your inner peace and personal resources. Illness, the loss of loved ones and simple everyday experiences like bumper to bumper traffic can provoke feelings of pain, sadness, anxiety and anger. Such experiences not only produce painful emotions, they are also very damaging to your body.
While practicing different forms of relaxation, skills like progressive muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing or receiving massage therapy are effective in helping you to reduce your stress; new research suggests that cultivating and practicing Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) provides you distinct benefits that go beyond managing your stress.
Researchers at Emory University have found that LKM may improve your physical and emotional responses to stress. Consistently practicing LKM every day for as little as 10 minutes helps you to reduce feeling of stress and depression, reduces physiological inflammation, illness, and chronic pain as well as enhances your empathy and feelings of social connection to others, self-acceptance, and physical resilience and well-being (i.e., increases the vagal tone and changes the neural circuitry of the insula and temporal parietal junction in the brain).1, 2,3,4
Having a LKM practice is simple and easy. To practice, visualize and generate positive, loving feelings towards yourself and others by gently repeating the following phrases:
- May I be filled with love and kindness.
- May be I safe and protected.
- May I love and be loved.
- May I be happy and contented.
- May I be healthy and strong.
- May my life unfold with ease.
- May I be a person of joy.
After visualizing and sending love and kindness to yourself, follow by visualizing and then generating and sending these feelings to the following:
- someone who you love deeply (e.g., your husband, mother, son).
- a good friend.
- someone who is “neutral” who you have neither very positive or negative feelings towards (e.g., the cashier at your grocery store).
- someone who you do not like who may have hurt you and provokes feelings of discomfort or pain (e.g., your boss).
- all beings everywhere alive.
You may also listen to a free guided LKM practices offered by the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.
To your health,
To learn more about how working with a psychologist and holistic health coach can help you to enhance your health and well-being, call or email Dr. Sandoval to schedule a free consultation.
- Carson, JW, Keefe, FJ, Lynch, TR, Carson, KM, Goli, V, Fras, AM and et al. “Loving-Kindness Meditation for Chronic Low Back Pain: Results From a Pilot Trial” Journal Of Holistic Nursing. (2005). 23: 287-304.
- Fredrickson, BL, Cohn, MA., Coffey, KA, Pek, J, and Finkel, SM. “Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. (2008). 95(5), 1045-1062.
- Hutcherson CA, Seppala EM, and Gross JJ. “Loving-kindness meditation increases social connectedness.” Emotion. (2008). 8(5):720-4. doi: 10.1037/a0013237.
- Lutz A, Brefczynski-Lewis J, Johnstone T, and Davidson RJ. “Regulation of the Neural Circuitry of Emotion by Compassion Meditation: Effects of Meditative Expertise.” PLoS ONE. (2008). 3(3), e1897. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001897.
The information, published and/or made available through the www.drjosesandoval.com website, is not intended to replace the services of a physician, nor does it constitute a physician-patient relationship. This blog is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information in this post for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. You should consult a physician in all matters relating to your health, particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. Any action on the reader’s part in response to the information provided in this blog is at the reader’s discretion.