Positive Psychology Intervention #6: Loving Kindness
Welcome to the last episode of Positive Psychology Intervention series, where we shared some suggestions to improve our well-being, be happier, and more positive is loving-kindness.
We are tribal creatures, we don’t do well in isolation, we thrive in environments where we get to have meaningful connections to the community.
This simple and beautiful intervention brings all of the previous 5 interventions together into one, to fully integrate them in a profound mindful moment of being.
We get to experience the benefits of generating feelings and kindness towards others through an intervention that is designed to shift our internal compass of navigation towards positivity.
If you enjoy these mini videos, please smash the like and subscribe button, that is the fuel for us to keep making more videos to help spread loving-kindness.
Let’s dive into the science behind why practicing loving-kindness can improve your mental and physical health, and how to practice.
As a species whose survival depends on the ability to build beneficial relationships with others, feeling socially connected and having social connections is a deep-seated necessity (Ref: Hutcherson, Seppala & Gross, 2008).
Such feelings have been shown to aid in maintaining mental, physical, and emotional health and wellbeing.
However, technological, economic, and social changes in our society have resulted in smaller social networks (ref: McPherson, Smith-Lovin & Brashears, 2006) and led to growing social distrust, isolation, and alienation.
This poses the question: how do we minimise these negatively impacting feelings and maximise social connection and positivity? Something we need to consider is if it is possible to produce these feelings ourselves.
Loving Kindness, also known as ‘Metta’ (a Pali word for benevolence, friendship, affection, and kindness) meditation, is a special practice tied in with self-love, empathy, understanding, and kindness.
It is simply a process to experience and enjoy and discourages the practitioner from attaching any sort of expectations or goals to it.
Loving Kindness meditation attributes its universal applicability to four main reasons:
- Inclusivity — works with all ages, personality patterns, and personal situations
- Flexibility & accessibility — practice anywhere, anytime, and at any pace
- Process-oriented — does not impose any obligation for goal-fulfillment
- nor does it induce sentimental feelings of goodwill
- Life-long effects — regular practitioners find this practice an excellent method of self-disclosure, motivation, and empathy i.e. the basic positive emotions that create a healthy mind (ref: Smith, 2015)
In the words of Russell Simmons, “Meditation introduces us to the part of ourselves that has been missing”.
Meditation is appropriate for our present way of life, which is busy and stressful.
Loving Kindness meditation is associated with self-love, empathy, understanding, and kindness (Chowdhury, 2020).
Did you know:
Tibetan monks with over 10,000 hours of Loving Kindness practice presented with neural circuits for self-understanding and empathy, and displayed higher degrees of self-contentment and inner joy than non-practitioners?
In a study by Hutcherson, Seppala, and Gross (2008), the authors used a loving-kindness meditation exercise to examine whether social connectedness could be created amongst strangers in a controlled laboratory context.
Through the study, it was shown that even just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity.
These results suggest that the Loving Kindness technique helps to increase positive social emotions while decreasing social isolation.
PRACTICE LOVING KINDNESS MEDITATION
- Find a comfortable space to sit by yourself for 15–20 mins a day, while you won’t be disturbed.
- Remove any distractions such as phone or computer, focus inwards
- Close down your eyes and start a few rounds of calming breathing
- Once your mind is quiet down, you can start imagining there is a stream of white or lavender colour light, coming from the universe to your body from the top of your head.
- Picturing this loving white light cleansing your whole body, with positive energy.
- Relax your body, even more, quiet down your thoughts, even more, focus on the light.
- Think of something happy, something that can make you smile. Maybe your pets, your friends or your last holiday.
- Once you’ve gotten used to showing yourself Loving Kindness, you can now direct this towards others around you.
- Start imaging the pure white light from your heart growing stronger and stronger, and spread it out to fill the room, and then across the whole building, to the whole town or city, growing more and more and radiate out to the whole country, the planet. The warm positive energy now wiping out all the negativity of the world, removing pain and suffering for everyone, and replace it with loving-kindness energy to all beings. Humans, animals, plants, and rocks.
- You may use affirmations as below:
- May I be strong
- May I have the power to accept and forgive
- May I live and die in peace
- May I be safe
- May I love and appreciate others boundlesslyContinue this process to give love and light to the world, to the galaxy, and the entire universe.
- Because you have so much love to spare and to give.
- Once you are happy with how the world is now at peace, you may slowly make your awareness back to your body, and your surrounding. Eventually, you can open up your eyes and you have just done a whole lot of good to the earth.
- Make time during your day-to-day life to practice Loving Kindness
- Always be loving and caring towards yourself and others — start by focusing solely on you,
- noticing the changes in yourself after each and every session
- Set a timer for 2-minute meditation sessions initially, extending this as you get more learned to be able to really focus on your intentions and absorb the phrases (see below)
- You may listen to a guided meditation video on Loving Kindness If this is in your practice.
Combine everything you’ve done in the interventions above:
- When you’re experiencing a positive moment/emotion/experience magnify the moment
- Drop into mindfulness for where you are and how you’re feeling and savour those feelings
- Share it with someone close to you, friends, family, significant other
- Sit with the feelings for as long as you like
Thank you for reading this Positive Psychology Intervention series, if you want to know more about it, don’t hesitate to send me an enquiry.