If you are looking for ways to boost your sense of compassion, try loving-kindness meditation. Research has shown that loving-kindness meditation can boost your sense of empathy and compassion, increase positive moods, relieve pain and stress, and help quieten your inner critic. Women who practice loving-kindness meditation may even live longer. Scientists have discovered that women who meditation have longer telomeres, a biological marker of age, and longer telomeres equal youth.
If you are ready to try loving-kindness meditation, here’s how:
Find a place where you can sit quietly for a few minutes. Breathe deeply and slowly. Imagine yourself safe and warm, surrounded by love and kindness. Repeat warm, loving wishes for yourself. For example:
* May I be safe from harm.
* May I be happy, just as I am.
* May I be filled with peace and joy.
As you begin to fill with warmth, peace, and love, extend those feelings towards the people and animals you find easiest to love. Repeat your mantras with those people (or pets!) in mind.
May they be safe. May they be happy. May they be filled with peace and joy.
Next, imagine the circle of love and compassion getting wider. Allow it to encompass people you feel neutral about, people you barely know. Try extending this feeling to people you have difficulties with, such as anger, resentment, or disagreements. This may be difficult. It’s ok to change the mantras to something like: "To the best of my ability, I wish them joy". If you lose your feeling of love, kindness, and compassion, pull back your circle to those people who naturally inspire positive emotions.
In time, and with practice, you will be able to extend your circle of love and compassion to all people, plants, and animals on earth, and to the earth itself. The more regularly you practice, the easier this will become.
For a guided practice, listen to a research-tested meditation at Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (link below) or try a meditation class at your local yoga studio or Buddhist temple.
Next time, join us to learn about compassion-focused therapy and how it can help you.
A Note for Entrepreneurs. Do you want to grow your business and yourself? Awesome. With the help of my mentors at the John Maxwell Team, I and Thrive Leadership Institute are launching, this Fall, two programs specifically created for Entrepreneurs: (1) Maxwell Speakers Club and Networking Group for Entrepreneurs and (2) Entrepreneur Leadership Development Program Workshops.
To learn more about these exciting New Programs for Entrepreneurs, coming this Fall, visit https://www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/annabanks/Contact or email Anna@ThriveLeadershipInstitute.com