What if you could improve your life in just seven weeks? A study using Loving-Kindness Meditation (LKM) tested 139 adults to investigate if this type of meditation can help us do precisely that.
LKM is used to increase feelings of warmth and caring while sitting in quiet contemplation and directing positive emotions toward oneself and others.
This study aimed to increase positive emotions, and to test parts of the broaden-and-build theory; which proposes that positive emotions broaden people’s attention and thinking, thus increasing their desired actions and openness to new experiences. Positive emotions also help people grow and build personal resources (i.e., optimism, peacefulness, resilience, better mental health, better relationships). And these resources can lead to a more satisfying, successful, and healthier life- which is what we all want!
In this study, the participants meditated five days a week for seven weeks, with mediation workshops once a week. And the authors found that LKM helped the participants experience positive emotions, like love, joy, gratitude, contentment, hope, and more. These positive emotions increased during the seven weeks. This means that LKM reliably produced positive emotions over and over again, during the meditation and outside of it; and these emotions were linked to increased mindful attention, more self-acceptance, positive relations with others, and good physical health. Positive emotions helped people build resilience, ward off depressive symptoms, and feel more competent in their lives. All of these things are “personal resources”, that led the participants to become more satisfied with their lives in general.
This means that we can take action to feel more satisfied and happier in our own lives, too, with the tool of Loving-Kindness Meditation.
Resource: Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M. (2008). Open hearts build lives: positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1045–1062. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013262
Blog written by: Elza Buder