Day 16 of Exquisite Self Care~ Loving Kindness

Day 16 of Exquisite Self Care~ Loving Kindness

I believe in being loving and kind as a way of life. But I, like a lot of people, can often be quite harsh towards myself. I hold myself to very high standards and often am disappointed in my ability to meet those standards.Loving Kindness meditation is a method to increase compassion, especially towards self. Being more compassionate towards yourself in turn increases your compassion towards others. It is one of the few Buddhists meditations that traces back to Buddha himself. The loving kindness meditation is a mantra meditation that is first directed towards yourself, then towards someone you respect, then someone whom you have neutral feelings, then someone who cause you difficulty, then you can direct it to the whole world. The meditation always starts with loving kindness directed towards the self. If you don’t have much time you only do it towards yourself. It seems that being loving and kind is the whole point of self care. After I direct some towards myself, I often will direct some towards someone whom I am worried about or with whom I feel anxiety. The mantra is simple: May I/you be safe. May I/you be happy. May I/you be healthy. May I/you be at ease. You can then add any you like. I like: May I/you be loved and be loving. You repeat the mantra either softly aloud or silently in your head. I find it to be an incredibly soothing, and that it lowers my anxiety. But don’t take my word for it, check out this article which links you with the original studies: http://www.mindful.org/18-science-based-reasons-to-try-loving-kindness-meditation/. One study in this article, by Hutcherson, Seppala and Gross (2008), look to see if there was an effect of a even a small dose of loving-kindness meditation (practiced in a single short session lasting less than 10 minutes). Compared with a closely matched control task, even just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity toward strangers. I also highly recommend the book, “Loving Kindness, the Revolutionary Art of Happiness,” by Sharon Salzberg. If you do better with someone else leading the meditation, there are also tons of youtube videos where folks will lead you through a loving kindness mediation. I love this meditation because I can do it anywhere and anytime, and I don’t have to sit still. I can always tell a difference in how I feel when I am done with this meditation. Loving ourselves is the most fabulous form of self care!