The beauty of meditation is that there are different mediation techniques that we can play with to keep the practice exciting but most importantly to focus and achieve specific goals. Loving-Kindness Meditation is a great way to practice compassion and has plenty of science-backed benefits that in the long run can greatly boost our happiness and wellbeing.
Loving-Kindness Meditation is a type of meditation in which we think of people in our life and send them our best wishes and love. The meditation is a great heart opener and connects you to the energy of love. So what are some of the science-backed benefits and what makes this meditation so powerful?
In the popular course “The Science of Wellbeing” from Yale University, Professor Laurie Santos demystifies what it really means to be happy and what things we should be aiming for to increase our happiness sustainably. It turns out that happiness doesn’t come from getting paid a higher salary, having a great relationship or a perfect body; all things that we normally think will make us happy. Instead, the course shows through numerous studies that what we should be looking for is to increase the acts of kindness we do in our lives as well as increasing social connection as they can significantly boost our happiness.
Lets take a further look at these studies:
- Atkin et Al. (2008) showed that people are happier when buying things for others rather than themselves no matter the culture or income level. This proves that simple acts of kindness and doing things for others can bump up your happiness.
- Myers (2000) showed that people with close social ties have all sorts of health benefits. They are less vulnerable to premature death, more likely to survive fatal illnesses and less likely to fall prey to stressful events. Also Diener & Seligman (2000) showed there is lot of happiness consequences from close social ties. In fact, they don’t have to be close relationships to work these effects. Interacting intentionally with strangers was shown to already boost happiness and positivity.
What does this have to do with Loving-Kindness Meditation? Well, studies show that the two primary benefits from this practice are: increasing our perception of social connections (Kok et al 2013) as well as increasing positive emotions by evoking kindness towards others (Fredrickson Cohn, Pek &Finkel 2008). It is therefore, evident that Loving-Kindness Meditation practices significantly and sustainably increases your happiness.
An increase in happiness however is just one of the amazing benefits of this powerful and beautiful meditation. In fact, Loving-Kindness Meditation harnesses all of the well-known benefits of meditation: increasing gray matter, reducing stress and anxiety, keeping mind wandering under control, slowing biological aging, reducing pain amongst many others.
The cherry on top of the cake, is that through this practice you will also be helping and contributing to others happiness by actively practicing compassion, increasing empathy and expressing love. According to Dr.Joe Dispenza, studies show that when people are truly in their hearts, the love that they feel begins to influence people non-locally as well. You can therefore give love and allow other people to experience love and its benefits at a distance. How incredible is that? So by bringing these positive emotions to more people you will be literally contributing to a better world as well as reaping the benefits yourself of happiness, better health and overall wellbeing.
I invite you to experiment with this practice. You can try this beautiful meditation provided by Dr. Joe Dispenza in a call to spread love to our community during the difficult times brought up by the COVID19.