Try a little tenderness

I find it’s very easy for my brain to judge. Myself, others, whatever the situation, there always seems to be a judgement statement ready. These judgmental thoughts can put us on alert for threat, causing chronic stress in the body. Various forms of meditation have been shown to be effective for re-centering attention away from negative judgements, cultivating present-moment focus, increasing cognitive flexibility (e.g., being able to think about a situation from different perspectives), and generally enhancing health and well-being.

One form of meditation, compassion meditation (or loving-kindness meditation), involves cultivating acceptance and positive thoughts about ourselves and others. To practice, one is encouraged to visualize a loved person, a neutral person, and a difficult person, offering each of these people well wishes. This warmth is then turned toward ourselves (though some practices begin with an inward focus and then turn compassionate thoughts to others). Often, a series of phrases or mantras are repeated (e.g., “May you be free from pain and sorrow. May you be at peace. May you be well.”). When beginning this practice, it can be helpful to have a guided meditation.

May you all be free from pain and sorrow. May you all be well and happy. May you all be at peace.

 

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