What do you when Loving Kindness Meditation isn’t your bag

Personal Development

Loving Kindness meditations are one of my favourite guided meditations BUT it’s not for everyone. There are many roads to Rome and while meditations have there place it’s counterproductive (combined with a healthy does of silly) to think that is only ONE way of achieving inner peace and acceptance.  Channel Goldilocks and explore until the penny drops and you’ve found something that works for you.

 

In the last decade the fascinating research field of positive emotion has exploded with studies showing that people who experience warmer, more upbeat emotions tend to live longer and healthier lives. In her book Love 2.0, Fredrickson (2013) argues that the highest positive emotion is love. The presence or absence of love influences everything we feel, do, think and become.

 

The “three loving connections” is an exercise that aims to cultivate the emotion of love by seeking out three meaningful interactions each day and reflecting on them each night. Preliminary findings suggest that actually recording these experiences triggers positive physiological effects in the body. In a pilot study, Kok (2012) suggested that taking one minute each day to record how ‘close’ and ‘in tune’ you feel when interacting with others can produce improved heart function and a boost in day-to-day positive emotions. Moreover, seeking positive micro moments may boost positive psychological well-being, which has been found to be positively correlated to health and to survival in both healthy and diseased populations (Chida & Steptoe, 2008; Howell, Kern, & Lyubomirsky, 2007).

 

The goal of this exercise is to increase the experience of love by seeking out three meaningful interactions each day and to reflect on them each night.

As with everything, try it and trust yourself. Trying something new is a dance with steps tempting you back to the familiar embrace of your comfort zone and others enticing you forwards towards new land. All dances take practice and some you’ll love while others will never be your thing.  Give it a good shot before making that call.

Step 1: Connect
Each day, look for three opportunities to interact and connect with others, for instance a relative, friend, colleague, or complete stranger. Each interaction can be with the same person or with three different people.

  • Approach this potential interaction with warmth, respect and good will
  • Make an effort to stay present and listen with an open heart
  • Offer your eye contact and (when appropriate) your touch
  • Share your own light-hearted thoughts and feelings

Step 2: Reflection 

Each night call to mind your three interactions. Rate each of the following statements on a scale of 1 (not true at all) to 7 (very true):

  • During these interactions, I felt “in tune” with the person/s around me.
  • During these interactions, I felt close to the person/s around me.

A low rating on both questions suggests that you did not really connect to the other person during the interaction. If so, you may reflect on the following questions:

  • Why did I feel not so connected to the other person?
  • What can I possibly do next time to enhance my connection with the other person?

 

Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Any questions or observations drop your comments below and I’ll get back to you.

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