Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How To Practice Caring Mindfulness: Cultivating Loving Kindness

In previous posts, I commented on why altruism is a win-win situation. How can we implement this in our practice for well-being?

Given that the benefits are clearly measurable, psychologists and therapists are turning to meditations that include loving kindness, and compassion.

Why cultivate loving kindness?

Because the practice of mindfulness, by itself, can be used incorrectly, and deviate from its original purpose, which is, not only to increase our well-being, but also that of others, and the place we live in: our planet. 

Matthieu Ricard wrote:
"A calm and clear mind is not in and of itself, a guarantee for ethical behavior. There can be mindful snipers and mindful psychopaths who maintain a calm and stable mind. But there cannot be caring snipers and caring psychopaths."

Compassion and neural changes.

Several studies have shown the benefits of practicing caring mindfulness. This one study in particular, led by positive psychologist, Barbara Frederickson, shows clear cut findings: 
"The practice of LKM (loving kindness meditation) led to shifts in people's daily experiences of a wide range of positive emotions, including love, joy, gratitude, contentment, hope, pride, interest, amusement, and awe. These increases in positive emotions were evident both within the trajectories of change in daily emotions over the span of 9 weeks and within a detailed analysis of a given morning 2 weeks after formal training ended."
The 140 adults who participated in this study also showed improvements in physical health.

Ricard puts it this way,
"Meditation gives you inner strength and confidence, and if you don't feel vulnerable, you can put that to the service of others. So it's not just about sitting and cultivating caring mindfulness. It's building up a way of being and then using it for the service of others."

Here's how you do it.

Got 9 minutes and 20 seconds to spare? 

UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) to the rescue! I like this loving kindness meditation  because it's very easy to follow and it leaves you with a good mood, and a sunny disposition. I hope you give it a try and let me know how it went! 

P.S. How to practice a Body Scan? and Mindful Eating.

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