There are many different forms of love, for example, an intimate partner, child, friend, family, or other humanity. Each form of love has the fundamental elements of Curiosity, Openness, and Acceptance, which equal Love (COAL) (Siegel, 2010)
- “Loving-kindness means bringing a COAL state of being present, attuning, and resonating with the person” (Siegel, 2010)
- Being present, attuned, and resonating are skills that need to be deeply understood and need development. Please ask us for the research summaries we have available for each of these skills.
“The following are a few examples of loving-kindness phrases. These phrases can evoke internal states of clarity, compassion, and integration as they facilitate the neural firing of our resonance circuits, which enable us to be attuned to others and ourselves. With practice, these intentionally created states of kindness can become long-term traits of compassion and caring concern” (Siegel, 2010):
- “May I be happy and live with a joyful heart“
- “May I be healthy and have a body that gives me energy”
- “May I live with the ease that comes from well-being” (Siegel, 2010)
With the practice of loving-kindness meditation, a person’s relationship to his/her negative internal experiences will change. This change is what makes this practice essential to learning self-acceptance and managing self-critical thoughts
“By accepting aversive thoughts and feelings, eventually less attention is placed on such aversive emotions (fears, anxiety, and self-doubt) and attention can then be freed up to be placed on the present moment” (Baltzell, 2016)
“Self-compassion emphasizes soothing and comforting the self when distressing experiences arise, remembering that such experiences are part of being human.” (Neff & Germer, 2013 as cited in Baltzell, 2016)
“Empathy for others is stimulated when we perform loving-kindness exercises and when we develop attunement internally” (Siegel, 2010)
“When one’s thinking process is maladaptive, the individual tends to experience either cognitive fusion, when a person reacts as if their thoughts are literally true, or experiential avoidance, when a person attempts to escape or avoid the event” (Hayes, 2004 as cited in Baltzell, 2016).
The problem is not a person’s thoughts, but how one responds to the problem (Hayes, 2004 as cited in Baltzell, 2016)
Even though this type of meditation might feel a little strange at first, please remember that within six weeks, new neural pathways will be formed. This type of Brain Training capitalizes on your brain’s neuroplasticity. The new neural pathways eventually enable you to live a more productive life and disentangle your self-critical thoughts that immobilize you
The research evidence on the use of self-compassion with elite athletes and executives has demonstrated that self-compassion/self-acceptance results in significantly improved performance, more resilience to setbacks, and steeper growth rates. It is an essential feature of Performance and Sports Psychology
Self-Compassion Increases Failure Tolerance –> Less Recovery Time after Failures & Enhanced Problem Solving
Failure Tolerance –> Better Mental Health Outcomes and Growth
Brain Training Link
Guided Mindfulness Meditation Series 1 with Digital Booklet by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Track 4 = Loving kindness)
*To access this practice, search Jon Kabat-Zinn into the ITunes Stores. Purchase is required. ($19.99) The album is titled “Guided Mindfulness Meditation, Series 1 with Digital Booklet.”
This link can be used on Mac Computers but not in iPhones or iPads.
Baltzell, A. L, (2016). Mindfulness and performance. Cambridge University Press
Siegel, D. J. (2010). The mindful therapist: A clinician’s guide to mindsight and neural integration New York: W.W. Norton & Company