Loving Kindness Meditation and Mental Health
In my professional career, I often hear from clients that they don’t do anything for self-care. Mindfulness and meditation are not on their radar. This article will highlight the importance of meditation. Specifically the Loving Kindness meditation and studies that prove it’s usefulness in our day to day lives.
Stress on the Body
Throughout our day, we experience many forms of stress. Our bodies when stressed release cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone responsible for your stress response as well as your immune system and metabolism. Although this hormone is good in situations of fight or flight, prolonged release of cortisol can cause damage. Weight gain, fatty deposits in your mid-region, and thinning skin just to name a few. Meditations and mindfulness have been proven to help relieve the effects on stress and are a great form of self-care.
A 2013 research article published in the Psychological Science journal written by Kok, et. al, suggests that people who experience warmer, more upbeat emotions live longer, healthier lives. 65 participants were sorting into two groups. Participants in the treatment group were asked to practice the Loving-Kindness Meditation every day throughout the experiment and scale how they felt. Both groups were also assessed for vagal tone via heart rate to obtain high-frequency heart rate variability.
The results were clear. Those who were in the meditation group had significantly higher increases in their reporting of positive emotions over those in the control group. The data suggests that perceptions of their positive social connections with others, positive emotions, and physical health snowball into an upward-spiral creating both good physical and mental health.
As we know from previous articles, wellness is a concept that consists of the 4 pillars: physical, mental, financial, and intellectual health. What effects one, ripple effects to others and this article helps prove that. Meditation is just as good for your mental health as your physical health. Which we know helps with our intellectual health and another roll on from that would be better financial health. All from taking a moment to reflect, meditate, love and succeed.
What is the Loving Kindness Meditation?
The Loving Kindness meditation is based around the Buddhist idea of self-compassion. It asks you to stop for a moment to be in the present moment, without judgement. Focusing on the love in your life and by being generous and showing care. This meditation is best done in a quiet place and in a position you feel most comfortable. Likewise, this is not going to be effective without repetition. Be sure to make this a priority in your life.
You can find on YouTube and in different mental health and mindfulness apps the Loving Kindness meditation should you want to try it out for yourself. Below are a couple examples of different Loving Kindness meditations you can try.
Additional Resources and Websites:
You’ve spent money because an athlete or spokesperson made a product look good. You’ve spent hours and dollars to get yourself in shape and feel better about yourself. What if the one thing you were missing was training your mind to make the most out of every day? To be appreciative of all of life’s small victories and to love yourself first. The benefits are endless and it’s free. Why not? What do you have to lose?