What if there was a way to develop compassion toward ourselves and build resilience to better face life’s difficulties in and out of the workplace? Loving-kindness meditation is one technique that can also foster inner strength and peace of mind.
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How Loving Kindness Meditations Can Improve Resilience
When the Dalai Lama first visited the West, he marveled at how difficult it was for Westerners to show themselves compassion. Many of us struggle with self-compassion in our daily lives, and as a result, suffer from a low emotional capacity when it comes to dealing with hardship and stressors, recent psychology research shows.
Developing a mindful routine that incorporates loving-kindness meditation makes it easier to have compassion for yourself and others in your daily life and create lasting change.
What Is Loving-Kindness Meditation?
Loving-kindness meditation is a form of mindful meditation that promotes the cultivation of loving, compassionate thoughts and feelings towards yourself and others. This type of practice has gained popularity in recent years due to its many benefits, including an improved sense of peace and resilience.
When it comes to actually doing loving-kindness meditation, it's important to create a mindful routine that works best for you. For example, some people find that making loving-kindness meditation a part of a mindful morning routine helps them start their day with a sense of intention and awareness.
In this practice, the meditator takes time to think loving thoughts about themselves and others to cultivate compassion and understanding.
Ways To Practice A Loving-Kindness Meditation
Here's an example of a timeless loving-kindness meditation, a metta practice. Metta is the Sanskrit word for loving-kindness, and the practice involves repeating some variation of these phrases towards the person you're visualizing:
• May you be happy
• May you be healthy
• May you be peaceful
• May you live your life with ease
You can repeat these phrases to yourself, toward someone you find easy to love, or someone with whom your relationship is difficult.
Other examples of loving-kindness meditations include:
• Visualizing loving energy radiating from your heart center out toward a specific person or group of people, or even around the whole world
• Reflecting on the good qualities of yourself and the people around you.
An easy way to do this is to focus on certain aspects of your personality or the personality of another and cultivate gratitude for those aspects. Some phrases of loving-kindness you can offer yourself include:
– Thank you, brain, for all the hard work you do. Thank you for all the problem-solving and thinking you do that helps me survive.
– Thank you, heart, for beating constantly.
– Thank you, body, for carrying me through this world.
As you continue to practice loving-kindness, you'll find that the effects naturally flow outwards into how you interact with other people, improving your capacity for experiencing difficult emotions and empowering you to show yourself love in the face of adversity.
How Loving-Kindness Meditation Builds Resilience
Loving-kindness meditation gives you tools to bounce back more quickly from hardship and give yourself permission to rest. This type of meditation helps promote compassion, connection, and awareness within yourself.
Regular practice of loving-kindness meditation has been linked to increased feelings of peace and contentment in life, improved relationships, and enhanced emotional regulation, psychologists report. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Taking time to recognize the suffering of others and extend compassion can create a sense of connectedness and empathy. Understanding that we are all interconnected and capable of caring about one another can help us maintain a positive outlook and have perspective in times of hardship, both important components of sustained happiness and resilience.
The Importance of Resilience In and Out of the Workplace
Possessing resilience is an invaluable quality in both the workplace and day-to-day life. With resilience, we can manage complex situations with composure while keeping our objectives in sight. Additionally, it helps us recover from disappointment and even failure as we continue to strive toward our aspirations.
Building resilience can also have a transformative effect on our daily lives, as research at the Mayo Clinic tells us. Not only does it help reduce stress, but it also improves creativity and productivity, communication skills, mental and physical health, as well as personal satisfaction. With improved persistence levels, we can remain content while still being available for those who require us at work or home — and for ourselves.