It’s no secret that meditation has positive impacts on our thinking, stress levels, and mood when practiced regularly. With so many options for meditating, it can be difficult to find a simple, easy one to help when things start to feel overwhelming.
I was first introduced to LovingKindness meditation, or metta bhavana, in a Running 101 Class I was taking with my personal trainer. Loving kindness meditation stems from the Buddhist tradition to cultivate love and compassion for yourself and others. It can be adapted and used by anyone
One of the things I absolutely love about my personal trainer is that she is not the Jillian Michaels-type where she yells and shames you into pushing your body to extremes. Instead, Christina is kind, supportive and non-judgmental. She is firm and will help push your performance to the next level. However, if your body or mind just can’t get there a particular day, she follows your lead and adapts.
A few summers ago, she invited me to take my workout routines to the next level by taking her Running 101 class. This was an 8-week course where a group of women, including the trainer, would practice our running together in preparation for completing a 5k. The class focused on teaching us how to run in a manner that was both safe and efficient by focusing on our form, rather than speed. We would practice our running homework for the week together on Sunday mornings at the pacing recommended for that particular week. During this time, we would share our struggles, our successes, and our commitments to workout x # of times until our next class the following Sunday.
About halfway through, I was hitting my physical and mental wall. I have never, ever considered myself a runner, let alone an athlete. Heck- I was the girl in high school who used to sweet talk my gym teachers into letting my friends and I walk the track to talk about our crushes and the latest teen drama rather than play volleyball with the rest of the class. And now here I was, completing graduated running intervals about 2-3x per week on average!
Enter Week 5’s practice run and homework: Using Loving Kindness Meditation to help us through the tough times. During the walking portions of our intervals, our trainer would introduce us to one line of the meditation, which we were then encouraged to silently recite during the active cycle (jogging or running depending on your level). During the following walking cycle, we would share what we noticed about our experiences, before being introduced to the next line of the meditation.
Simple Loving Kindness Meditation Script
1. May I be happy.
2. May I be safe.
3. May I be healthy, peaceful, and strong.
4. May I give and receive appreciation today.
1. May you be happy.
2. May you be safe.
3. May you be healthy, peaceful, and strong.
4. May you give and receive appreciation today.
Since then, I have learned to incorporate this meditation into my own practice when I am feeling overwhelmed because I can be especially unkind to myself in those moments. If you have more time, you can expand the meditation to specific people in your life. In fact, I’d recommend expanding one cycle towards someone you are having difficulty extending loving and kind feelings toward and see how this impacts your perspective. Ideally, it would be great to have the beginning and ending cycles to each focusing on yourself, bringing the meditation completely full circle.
I would like to especially thank Christina Yaworowski of Active Wellness in New Haven, CT for introducing me to this wonderful meditation. I appreciate your continued work to help myself and others stay strong physically and mentally during our personal training sessions.
Mallory Grimste, LCSW is a mental health therapist in Woodbridge, CT. She loves helping tweens, teens, and young adults struggling with Anxiety (... and other Big Emotions) find what works for them.
Originally a Jersey girl, she loves the beach, sunglasses, and iced coffee. Her favorite coping skills are deep breathing, listening to music, and watching Scandal.
Want to know more about Mallory, or how she can help? Check out her website at http://www.mallorygrimste.com.