Mindfulness based meditation has become increasingly popular in contemporary psychology. Another closely related meditation practise receiving attention, and becoming a focus of research is loving kindness meditation (LKM).
Several studies over the last few years have shown that LKM- aimed at inducing an unconditional, positive emotional state of kindness and compassion, is associated with increases in positive emotion and a decrease in negative emotion. There are also exciting preliminary findings from neuroendocrine and neuroimaging studies, studies, showing that LKM in combination with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy targets a variety of different psychological problems that involve interpersonal processes, such as depression, social anxiety, marital conflict, anger, and coping with the strains of long-term caregiving.
So during this ‘month of love’ we have options of how we think about the concept of love, and what the benefits would be depending on how narrowly or broadly we focus that feeling. Loving kindness seems to be the gift that keeps giving, and is certainly worth exploring as a win-win option for reducing stress and negative emotion, while benefiting more than just oneself!