What if there was a proven way you could feel fewer negative emotions and more positive emotions? Well, there is! I have written before about Transforming your Inner Critic into your Inner Champion, but there is another practice that has shown tremendous benefits: Loving Kindness Meditation.
Positive Psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson conducted a landmark study (Open Hearts Build Lives), which found that the practice of loving-kindness meditation increases the daily experiences of positive emotions over time. And these positive emotions increase a wide range of personal resources (e.g., increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, decreased illness symptoms).
How do you practice Loving Kindness Meditation?
- Breathe in and out. Think about things you have done out of good-heartedness and relive those memories to celebrate the potential for goodness that we all share.
- Recite the following phrases:
- May I live in safety.
- May have peace.
- May I have joy.
- May I have health.
- May I live with ease.
- Repeat the phrases slowly, paying attention to one phrase at a time.
- Think of a person close to you who loves you. Imagine that person standing on your right side, sending you their love. They are sending you wishes for your safety, well-being and happiness. Feel the warm wishes and love coming from that person towards you.
- Now bring to mind another person who cherishes you deeply. Imagine that person standing on your left side, sending you wishes for your wellness, health and happiness. Feel the kindness and warmth coming to you from that person.
- Now imagine that you are surrounded on all sides by people who love you, have been kind to you, or inspired you. They are sending you wishes for your happiness, well-being, and health. Bask in the warm wishes and love coming from all sides.
- Repeat the phrases for this group:
- May you live in safety.
- May you have peace.
- May you have joy.
- May you have health.
- May you live with ease.
- Now radiate loving kindness out to all beings.
- May all beings live in safety.
- May all beings have peace.
- May all beings have joy.
- May all beings have health.
- May all beings live with ease.
Once you have practiced this a number of times and feel very comfortable, you can extend the meditation to incorporate people you are feeling neutral about and then people you have difficulty with or resentment against. If it is difficult, you could add the phrase: “To the best of my ability, I wish that you may…”
Give it a try and let me know what you find!
Manuela loves helping smart and compassionate professionals create a career and life they love, while feeling more confident and fulfilled! You can visit Manuela’s Website for Success Life and Career Coaching.