A Simple Way to Improve Your Health

In honor of Valentine’s day and Heart Health month, I’m sharing with you a very simple and profound gift that can improve your emotional and physical health.

Loving Kindness Meditation
May I be at peace
May my heart remain open.
May I realize the beauty of my own true nature.
May I be a source of healing for this world.

May you be at peace
May your heart remain open.
May you realize the beauty of your own true nature.
May you be healed.
May you be a source of healing for this world.

Over the last decade, studies have revealed the powerful impact this simple meditation has on health. This meditation stimulates health improvements that are unique from other kinds of meditation..

Loving Kindness Meditation Promotes Optimal Living

In addition to reducing stress, frequent practitioners experienced a significant decrease in inflammation compared to the low-practice and no-practice groups. This research highlights two important findings: First, that not only can

Loving Kindness Meditation reduce distress but it can impact the body’s physiology as well.

Another pivotal study in the investigation of LKM was conducted by Positive Psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., a professor at the University of North Carolina. She lead a team of researchers investigated the impact of Loving Kindness Meditation has not only on emotions, but also on how this practice could actually build personal resources (cognitive, emotional, and physical). Her research team invited a group of people to practice Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) over the course of nine weeks. Participants in the LKM group had to practice at least a little every day, and researchers measured subjects on a variety of outcomes—including their experiences of positive emotions, their immunity to illness, and their relationships to others. Her question: Could LKM actually build a person’s personal resources?

Yes, it did. Dr. Frederickson wrote “The practice of LKM led to shifts in people’s daily experiences of a wide range of positive emotions, including love, joy, gratitude, contentment, hope, pride, interest, amusement, and awe. These shifts in positive emotions took time to appear and were not large in magnitude, but over the course of 9 weeks, they were linked to increases in a variety of personal resources, including mindful attention, self-acceptance, positive relationships with others, and good physical health…They enabled people to become more satisfied with their lives and to experience fewer symptoms of depression.” These findings are powerful.

Loving-Kindness and Social Connection

Given this research, it is no surprise that LKM has been shown to increase social connectedness, even for strangers. A study conducted by a group of researchers from Stanford University found that in just seven minutes of LKM, subjects reported greater social connection toward others. Other studies have shown that the feeling of social connection can predict changes in a person vagal tone (a physiological measurement of resilience and overall well-being).

What is significant about this study and search and about the experience teaching is that these changes can happen in a short amount of time. Concentrated practice is essential. Even a few minutes creates a pronounced shift.

The Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying, “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”