Loving-Kindness Meditation for Compassion and Well-Being

woman meditating with praying hands

Wishing peace and goodwill to all isn’t a concept you need to reserve for the holidays. This easy mindfulness meditation called loving-kindness can give you the warm fuzzies all over, all year long.

What is loving-kindness?

Meditation may sound hard but there is a simple way to get started: love and kindness.

Loving-kindness refers to a state of unconditional kindness and compassion for all beings. This concept is found in many religions and cultures around the world, and the tradition spans a few thousand years.  

What’s the big deal? Some studies suggest you can boost your empathy and feelings of connection and may reduce your implicit bias, anger, depression and anxiety.

How does it work?

You start with yourself and expand your circles of compassion outward. Here are the basics:

  1. You: Think about yourself. Direct your kindness to yourself with a phrase such as, “May I be happy.”
  2. Someone really close: Think about someone you love. Direct your kindness to that person, “May you be happy.”
  3. Someone neutral: Think about someone you feel neutral about, such as a coworker you really don’t like or dislike. Direct your kindness to this person, “May you be happy.”
  4. Someone hostile: Think about someone you have a tough time being around. Direct your kindness to this person, “May you be happy.”
  5. Bundle: Think about all of these people together, and equally direct your kindness to all of them.
  6. Expand: Finally direct your kindness everywhere, “May all beings everywhere be happy.”

You get the idea. Make it more your style, with a different phrase such as, “May I be at peace,” or “May I be safe,” or stack phrases together to expand the notion. To get more practice, search for a loving-kindness meditation video and find your favorite version.

Tonight before you drift off, take a moment to wish yourself some well-deserved peace. Let’s do this, and be Healthy for Good!