18 Science-Based Reasons to Try Loving-Kindness Meditation

Emerging Science Examines Benefits of Mindfulness Practice

This month’s issue of Mindful magazine has an excellent article by Emma Seppälä, who looks at the emerging science around the benefits of loving-kindness meditation.

Start with Kindness

First, the author notes the confusion and possible misconceptions—or even biases—that some people have about meditation. As she notes, there are many forms of meditation practice that we may have tried once or twice, before concluding they weren’t helpful for us.

I agree with Dr. Seppälä that a great place to start or renew a meditation practice is with Loving Kindness Meditation—or Mindfulness Practice, as I refer to it. It’s an easy one to begin with, because it evokes a very natural state in us: kindness.[1] As the author explains,

Loving-kindness meditation focuses on developing feelings of goodwill, kindness and warmth towards others … compassion, kindness and empathy are very basic emotions to us. Research shows that loving-kindness meditation has a tremendous amount of benefits [including] relief from illness and improving emotional intelligence.[2]

For the scientific evidence that supports the author’s 18 Reasons below, I urge you to read Dr. Seppälä’s full article. If these reasons intrigue you, then you may also enjoy the author’s TEDx talk—a recording of the loving-kindness meditation she uses.

Scientific Studies Reveal Benefits of Mindfulness Practice

  1. Increases Positive Emotions & Decreases Negative Emotions
  2. Increases vagal tone, which increases positive emotions & feelings of social connection
  3. Decreases migraines
  4. Decreases chronic pain
  5. Decreases PTSD
  6. Decreases schizophrenia-spectrum disorders
  7. Activates empathy & emotional processing in the brain
  8. Increases gray matter volume
  9. Increases respiratory Sinus Arrythmia (RSA)
  10. Increases telomere length—a biological marker of aging
  11. Makes you a more helpful person
  12. Increases compassion
  13. Increases empathy
  14. Decreases your bias towards others
  15. Increases social connection
  16. Curbs self-criticism
  17. Is effective even in small doses
  18. Has long-term impact[3]

The science is increasingly clear on the benefits of mindfulness meditation. Countless patients of mine—and I suspect some of your friends and acquaintances—will also attest to its helpfulness. May your own practice bring you peace, healing, and joy.

 

With gratitude,

 

Dr. Pamm


[1] Emma Seppälä, “18 Science-Based Reasons to Try Loving-Kindness Meditation,” Mindful, Oct. 2016.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.