Scientific research has shown how generating the feelings and thoughts of love and kindness changes us, for the better.
It not only cultivates positive emotions within us, such as joy, gratitude, contentment and hope, but it develops who we are as a human being. When we practice love and kindness, we become more self-accepting, mindful, experience greater social connectedness, improved physical health, greater purpose in life and enhanced long-term happiness.
The thing about love and kindness is that it is not a fixed trait we are born with. Rather, it is a practice we can actively develop.
Here’s one way: in a quiet space, imagine intentionally directing feelings of love and kindness from your heart to yourself and others. Start with a focused attention on just you, followed by your loved ones, your friends, strangers and then finally all beings. Throughout, simply authentically wish each group good health and happiness.
This very exercise brings about the scientific benefits described above.
Personally, this practice is one of my favourites for cultivating a life of health and happiness, and my antidote for any feelings of isolation or distrust I may have. It is a simple exercise that we can all do, and has changed my life for the better.
When we open our hearts with love and kindness, we not only grow as human beings and improve our own lives, but we of course create the opportunity to enhance the lives of others, and collectively make the world a better place.
Great text Tim!
I personally believe the Love and Kind Practice (which is ancient and also greatly adopted in Buddhism) helps ourselves for the simple fact that we are embracing all living beings as a whole, as part of us.
As a consequence we are able to see ourselves as part of a divine order of love and creation, cohesion and synchronicity.
Thanks a lot for the insight!
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Thank you for the comment and the amazing builds and perspective! Yes, in all my research of the well-being literature, having a connection to others and being a part of something greater than ourselves is the most important and consistent factor. And I think science still has a lot to learn from religion and spirituality in this space, and the exact mechanisms at play.