Metta (meaning loving kindness), is a type of meditation with the goal to increase our compassion for ourselves and others.
There have been many scientific studies and experiments on how regular meditation actually changes the brain.
Psychological effects of loving-kindness meditation on the brain:
Meditation in general has been found to have many other benefits such as better focus and concentration, less anxiety and stress due to loosening the connections of particular neural pathways, improved memory, feelings of bliss and contentment, increased awareness and mindfulness.
Physical effects of loving-kindness meditation on the body:
How to practice compassion meditation:
Sit in a comfortable position and begin to consciously breathe and relax your body. Let go of any tension in the body and try to let go of any distractions. Either listen to a guided script or read a script yourself, reciting positive, affirmative sentences such as:
'May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.'
At first, you recite the statement with yourself in mind, you then recite it with someone close to you, then moving to an acquaintance, then to someone you don't know, then to someone you usually experience difficulty or negative feelings towards, then eventually to all beings.
This is just one of the many different ways to do this meditation, just figure out what way you prefer and what suits you best. There are many scripts that you can find online, just make sure that they are positive statements. It can feel a bit strange or challenging to do this at first, especially if you have a difficult relationship with yourself. But if you keep at it, and try and intentionally allow feelings of compassion and love while you say these words, it should get easier, and change your life for the better.
Guided metta meditation by UNH Health Services
'Meditating on love and compassion leads to a sharp increase in brain gamma-waves, a significant decrease in inflammation, and a significant increase in immune system response.'
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