Article

Loving-Kindness Meditation Increases Social Connectedness

Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2130, USA.
Emotion (Impact Factor: 3.88). 11/2008; 8(5):720-4. DOI: 10.1037/a0013237
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

The need for social connection is a fundamental human motive, and it is increasingly clear that feeling socially connected confers mental and physical health benefits. However, in many cultures, societal changes are leading to growing social distrust and alienation. Can feelings of social connection and positivity toward others be increased? Is it possible to self-generate these feelings? In this study, the authors used a brief loving-kindness meditation exercise to examine whether social connection could be created toward strangers in a controlled laboratory context. Compared with a closely matched control task, even just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity toward novel individuals on both explicit and implicit levels. These results suggest that this easily implemented technique may help to increase positive social emotions and decrease social isolation.

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Available from: Cendri A Hutcherson
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    • "Empathy, distress tolerance, and kindness are key attributes of compassion, with self-compassion associated with reduced selfcriticism , blame and worry (Neff, 2003; Gilbert et al., 2004; Gilbert and Procter, 2006). Self-compassion has its roots in Buddhist teachings, with research substantiating its link with psychological well-being (e.g., Neff, 2003; Neff et al., 2005; Leary et al., 2007; Hutcherson et al., 2008; Lutz et al., 2008; Gilbert, 2009; Kelly et al., 2009; 2010; Beaumont et al., 2012; Germer and Siegel, 2012; Beaumont and Hollins Martin, 2013, 2015). Mindfulness, empathy and loving kindness are factors that cultivate self-compassion and promote self-care and well-being (Raab, 2014). "
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