The positive experiences of social connection, caring relationships, and community are linked to happiness, resiliency, and well-being.56,57 At times we find ourselves in situations where we are unable to affect a change or make a difference in our own or someone else’s life. The ancient practice of loving-kindness meditation (also known as “metta” meditation) focuses on developing feelings of goodwill, kindness, and warmth – feelings that
we do have the ability to control. Loving-kindness meditation serves as one way to take a pause, relieve stress, and to extend kindness and compassion to ourselves and others.
Research has shown routinely practicing loving-kindness mediation can induce the relaxation response and increase feelings of love, joy, hope, well-being, compassion and social connection. 58-64 It has also been shown to decrease emotional tension and symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).65
This practice is appropriate for any location at any time of the day. Loving-kindness meditation can be practiced seated or lying down, with the eyes closed or open with a soft downward gaze. Classically, the meditation is practiced using 6 categories and 4 phrases.
May he/she be happy
May he/she be healthy
May he/she be peaceful
May he/she be safe
If these phrases do not resonate with you, feel free to choose other phrases that speak more clearly to what you want for this person. You may repeat these phrases several times directed towards this person. When you feel complete, let the image or sense of this person fade.
Repeat the above using some or all of the following categories:
• Teacher or mentor who has had a positive influence in your life
• A neutral person such as a grocery store clerk or a neighbor or someone at work
• A difficult or challenging person
• All people and beings
End the practice when you feel complete.
MIND-BODY TOOLKIT | CULTIVATING RESILIENCY
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