Simple Buddhist Meditation to Relieve Anxiety, Loneliness, and Depression

Loving Kindness Meditation

Hey, I'm Emilie!

A certified life coach, meditation instructor, and spiritual entrepreneur. I’m here to help you create a vibrant life around your higher purpose and heart’s desires. 

Loving-Kindness Meditation: A Step-by-Step Guide (+ Guided Meditation)

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of meditation techniques out there.

It’s not because monks got bored and needed variety— it’s simply because certain methods work best for certain people depending on their personality type, state of mind, and the reason why they meditate.

Today, I want to share a practice that is beneficial to everyone but is particularly effective in reducing symptoms of depression and feelings of anxiety, anger, and loneliness.

First, I’ll explain what the meditation technique is and the benefits of practicing it. Next, I’ll show you how to practice it. I’ll also tell you where you can download a free guided meditation to help you along the way.

Mindful Morning Routine

Why You Should Consider Practicing Loving-Kindness Meditation (Metta)

The practice is called “Metta,” or “Loving-Kindness Meditation.” It comes from Buddhism, and it aims at cultivating compassion toward ourselves, other people, and all sentient beings.

Compassion is one of the most uplifting and soothing emotions we can experience.

By cultivating it, you feel more at peace with yourself and others, and you raise your vibrational frequency.

True compassion is not pity; it’s a genuine desire that another being (or yourself, in the case of self-compassion) be well. It stems from the understanding that everything is interconnected and that, at our cores, we are all equal and made of the same essence.

Studies have shown that Loving-Kindness Meditation activates the part of the brain associated with empathy. By doing so, it enhances our sense of connectedness to others, leading to more harmonious relationships.

The Dalai Lama says:

“I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease.”

Compassion is scientifically proven to reduce self-criticism, symptoms of depression, and loneliness, as well as increase emotional intelligence and life satisfaction.

Metta Meditation

As you cultivate compassion, you automatically become less judgmental. Judging is against our true nature. It’s against our spiritual essence and, therefore, causes suffering.

Judgment is of the ego. When we judge, we reinforce our belief in separation – the belief that you and I and everything else that exists are separated rather than part of a whole.

Loving-Kindness Meditation is a remedy to judgmental thoughts.

Compassion is also the key to creating a state of heart-brain coherence. In that state, all the organs and the different systems in the body function optimally.

It’s also in that state that we produce higher Gamma brain waves. Gamma waves are associated with strong memory recall, super-fast learning, and enhanced intuitive abilities. We are more likely to receive insights or have “Aha!” moments.

Basically, practicing Loving-Kindness Meditation creates inner and outer harmony.

Again, if you tend to feel depressed or lonely, or if you deal with a lot of stress or anxiety, I think you should give it a try. I personally love this meditation.

Buddhist Meditation

How to Practice Loving-Kindness Meditation

First, I’ll give you the full version of Loving-Kindness Meditation.

You’ll see that there are many steps, but don’t worry— I’ll give you a simplified version at the end.

I’ll also give you a guided meditation that you can use to practice.

Loving-Kindness Meditation: The Complete Version

Here’s the most common way to practice Loving-Kindness Meditation:

Step 1: Sit with your back straight, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths to relax.

Step 2: Next, focus on yourself. It may help to recall a time when you felt a bit sad or needed support. As you think of this memory, try to feel compassion for this past version of yourself. As feelings of self-compassion rise within you, mentally repeat wishes of goodwill addressed to yourself.

The phrases that we commonly use are:

    • May I be well.
    • May I be happy.
    • May I be healthy.
    • May I be safe.
    • May I be at peace.
    • May I be free of suffering.

Feel free to modify these phrases as you like, as long they are wishes of goodwill. You can mentally repeat the statements in your mind once or twice and then just focus on sending waves of love and caring feelings toward yourself. The feelings are what matters in this meditation, more so than the statements.

You can continue to send waves of compassion to yourself for a few moments (around two minutes or longer).

Step 3: Next, repeat the exact same process but, this time, do so for someone you love. You can simply think of a person you love or picture them in your mind, and mentally say the statements – “may you be well, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be safe, may you be at peace, may you be free of suffering” – and then focus on sending them loving and caring feelings.

Step 4: Repeat the same process with someone neutral (ex: the cashier at your local store with whom you don’t have a personal relationship).

Step 5: Do it again, this time with someone you may have a difficult relationship with or don’t particularly like.

Step 6: And finally, do it again, this time including all beings – all humans, animals, and plants.

Step 7: After you’ve finished the exercise, bring your attention to your breathing and remain in silent meditation for as long as you wish.

As I said, there are many steps, and it can be difficult to remember exactly how to do it at first, so I’ll give you a simplified version.

Mindful Morning Routine

Loving-Kindness Meditation: Simplified Version

If you do this meditation on your own (not using guided meditation audio), I would recommend that you spend a whole meditation session sending compassion to yourself only.

Then, in the following session, send compassion to a loved one. The next session after that, send compassion to someone neutral, and so on.

Do it one person at a time per meditation session. You could even spend a whole week sending compassion only to yourself and have weekly focuses instead of daily.

That’s what I call the “simplified version.”

It’s a good idea to practice the simplified version first to become more familiar with the process because otherwise you risk getting stuck in your mind, trying to remember all the steps.

As I said earlier, the key to this meditation is to focus on the feelings of compassion. If you spend your time thinking of the next steps and whether you’re doing it right, you won’t reap the benefits from the practice.

When you become familiar with the steps, you can do all of them in the same meditation session.

In the guided meditation below, I guide you to send feelings of compassion to all of those listed above.

Loving-Kindness Guided Meditation

I’ll just quickly recap the steps for you:

Step 1: Sit with your back straight and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths to help you relax.

Step 2: Mentally say the statements of loving-kindness and then focus on sending feelings of compassion toward yourself.

Step 3: Repeat the same process toward a loved one.

Step 4: Repeat the same process toward a neutral person.

Step 5: Repeat the same process toward someone with whom you have a difficult relationship.

Step 6: Repeat the same process toward all beings.

Step 7: After you’ve finished the exercise, you can bring your attention to your breathing and continue focusing on your breath for as long as you wish.

I hope you’ll give this beautiful practice a try.

I am convinced that it’ll help you feel more at peace with yourself, others, and life in general. I believe that if every human practiced this meditation even just ten minutes daily, there wouldn’t be as much conflict on Earth.

Have a beautiful week!

Emilie

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