Loving Kindness

As we start a New Year, the word ‘resolution’ comes up more often than not whether it’s starting a new diet, making the bed regularly, or implementing an exercise routine in one’s daily life. When I sat down to write my own resolutions for the 2016 year, I intentionally wanted to think from a DBT perspective. One of the key concepts in DBT is that of Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in the present moment.   I have recently taken up yoga and appreciate the meditative state it provides me whether done in the morning to calmly start my day or done in the evening to wind down the day’s events. With wanting to continue this practice on a regular basis in the New Year as one of my resolutions, I was reminded of the DBT skill, ‘Loving Kindness Meditation.’

To begin the practice of ‘Loving Kindness’, find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably. Let your body be relaxed and at rest. This skill can be done for a minimum of five minutes to 25-50 minutes, depending on your needs.

Begin by breathing gently and recite inwardly the following traditional phrases directed to your own well-being. You begin with yourself because without loving yourself, it is almost impossible to love others. You can continue wishing ‘Loving Kindness’ outwards to people in your circle like family members and friends, colleagues, people you struggle with, and eventually expand it to cover all ‘beings’.

May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May I be well in body and mind.
May I be at ease and happy.

May YOU be filled with loving kindness.
May YOU be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May YOU be well in body and mind.
May YOU be at ease and happy.

‘Loving Kindness’ has become a favorite of mine and I find it is particularly effective, especially used with ‘Willing Hands’. This is where you place your hands open, palms up, on your lap or on a flat surface. This skill helps to extend a little compassion to yourself, and others around you whom you may find particularly challeging.

Whatever this New Year brings you; health, wealth, and happiness, I hope you can use this DBT skill regularly and whole-heartedly, and you can start to experience the effectiveness of the skill daily. Cheers to 2016!