By Dr Javed Latoo, Psychiatrist UK
Mindfulness has lately become popular in the west even though it has been part of eastern civilisation and all major religions over many thousand years. More recently there have been studies to understand the benefits of the mindfulness in patients with both mental and physical health problems. Studies have shown it can be beneficial in anxiety, depression, insomnia and chronic pain. It is also known to improve general mental and physical well being in general population.
There are many mindfulness exercises now popular in the west that have been studied in various patient groups. Mindfulness is promoted by people of all backgrounds. It is impossible to cite the initial source as mindfulness has been part of all major religions in one or other form. I am sure following exercise has been studied and promoted by various individuals including academics and I claim no credit for writing this exercise here.
Loving-kindness meditation is an exercise to develop compassion and kindness. Though loving-kindness meditation is part of all the main religions, meditation guru Sharon Salzberg popularised it in the west. You can practice this meditation to develop compassion and kindness.
A study by Helen Weng has reported that daily practice of loving-kindness meditation can not only increase empathy, but it can also make one more altruistic. Thus compassion, kindness, and altruism can be learned through an exercise like loving-kindness.
You can practice this meditation anytime. With regular practice, one can develop compassion and kindness.
Steps of exercise
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