ArticlePDF Available

Does Loving-Kindness Meditation Reduce Anxiety? Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Although loving-kindness meditation (LKM) has shown some promise as a psychological intervention, little is known about the effectiveness of LKM for reducing one of the most prevalent mental health problems: anxiety. To build knowledge in this area, we conducted a randomized controlled trial, assigning nonclinical undergraduates to either a 4-session, group-based LKM intervention (n = 38) or a waitlist control (n = 33). Self-reported anxiety, compassionate love, and self-compassion were assessed at pretreatment, posttreatment, and 8-week follow-up. Relative to control participants, participants in the LKM intervention reported higher compassionate love and self-compassion at posttreatment and higher self-kindness (a component of self-compassion) at follow-up. Anxiety ratings did not significantly differ between conditions at posttreatment or follow-up. Study limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
This content is subject to copyright. Terms and conditions apply.
... LKM refers to the traditional Buddhist training in the four immesurables that helps practitioners to overcome the selfishness and develop moral integrity and is closely linked to mindfulness training (Santideva, 1997;Sayādaw, 1985). Secular training in LKM shows positive effects on compassion, ability to give and receive emotional support and feelings of positive purpose in life (e.g., Fredrickson et al., 2008;Neff & Germer, 2013;Weibel et al., 2016). Training in relational mindfulness combined with LKM and individual mindfulness practice might, therefore, make moral education more vivid and attractive for the students of business universities. ...
... showed positive effects on empathic accuracy, and negative effects on stress and depression (Pace et al., 2009;Desbordes et al., 2012;Mascaro et al., 2013). (Weibel et al., 2016). Results from previously mentioned studies show that LKMIs provide notably more benefits in the domains of interpersonal relationships and happiness than MBIs. ...
... However, despite extensive suggestions about fruitful relationship between mindfulness and compassion, the contemporary research in this area is very limited (Creswell, 2017 (Neff & Germer, 2013;Weibel et al., 2016). The effects of training based on relational mindfulness might be even more promising, as the second level of relational mindfulness, the mindfulness of other-in-relationship leads participants to be more aware of the condition of others (Surrey & Kramer, 2013). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
The application of mindfulness in management practice and education has recognized notable growth in recent years. The development of mindfulness has shown positive effects in several domains such as stress management, work engagement, well-being and cognitive flexibility. However, the effect of mindfulness training in the domain of interpersonal relationships is still a rather unexplored area. Furthermore, little evidence has so far explored the domain of relational mindfulness that focuses on the development of awareness of one and other’s condition in a social context. In order to address the lack of evidence, the goal of this thesis is to develop and validate an 8- week mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) named Relational Mindfulness Training (RMT). Research was conducted in the pilot (N = 66) and main study (N = 128) that included students of the University of Economics in Prague. Results showed a significant effect of participation in RMT on mindfulness, self-compassion, authentic leadership, compassion, perceived stress and subjective happiness. Results from the main study further confirmed significant effects of RMT participation on mindfulness, self-compassion and perceived stress in the long run, and indicated that individuals who maintained the individual practice after the end of intervention showed notably better results than individuals who did not. However, the individual practice did not affect the level of compassion. It suggests that an increase of compassion was not affected by an individual practice but by a relational practice of RMT. Two studies described in this thesis are the first ones that validate the effects of a relational-based mindfulness program in management education and the first ones to validate the effects of MBI in the Czech Republic. They also suggest that training in relational mindfulness has a potential to become a beneficial part of management education curriculum as it may help future leaders to handle their challenges in more aware and caring way.
... A study examined the effectiveness of the Breathworks' Mindfulness for Stress, which is an 8-week program that helped health care workers reduce depressive symptoms and increase compassion and mindfulness by engaging in meditations and mindful movements (Pizutti, Carissimi, Valdivia, Vieira Ilgenfritz, Freitas, Sopezki, Piva Demarzo, & Hidalgo, 2019). Another study found that Loving-Kindness Meditation that includes 90 minute sessions across four weeks in small groups was effective at reducing anxiety symptoms and increasing compassion love toward others (Weibel, McClintock, & Anderson, 2017). Additionally, the Cultivating Emotional Balance intervention developed by Ekman, Wallace and colleagues focused on Western scientific research by focusing on the four immeasurables of Buddhism, and this intervention is delivered across 6 weeks in 50 minute sessions. ...
Chapter
The use of empathy, compassion, and self-compassion can aid in the reduction of workplace suffering due to workplace cyberbullying. As such, this chapter defines each of these constructs and reviews their relevance to the management of workplace bullying. The main purpose of the chapter was to review prosocial interventions that incorporate positive psychological constructs such as empathy, compassion, and self-compassion. Prosocial workplace interventions serve to prevent and reduce workplace cyberbullying behavior in at-risk organizations. Interventions can be used to educate and train employees and leaders across organizations on how to cope with workplace cyberbullying as it emerges at work. A case study is offered along with recommendations to highlight how organizations might use an intervention approach to manage workplace cyberbullying. Future research directions are also offered to inspire workplace cyberbullying intervention research in organizations.
... Only four studies explicitly reported information on the safety of meditation, two on TM [57,73] and two on OMBM [46,50]. None of them observed adverse events that could be related to the application of meditation techniques. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Meditation is defined as a form of cognitive training that aims to improve attentional and emotional self-regulation. This systematic review aims to evaluate the available scientific evidence on the effectiveness and safety of mantra-based meditation techniques (MBM), in comparison to passive or active controls, or other active treatment, for the management of mental health symptoms. Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and PsycINFO databases were consulted up to April 2021. Randomised controlled trials regarding meditation techniques mainly based on the repetition of mantras, such as transcendental meditation or others, were included. Results: MBM, compared to control conditions, was found to produce significant small-to-moderate effect sizes in the reduction of anxiety (g = -0.46, IC95%: -0.60, -0.32; I2 = 33%), depression (g = -0.33, 95% CI: -0.48, -0.19; I2 = 12%), stress (g = -0.45, 95% CI: -0.65, -0.24; I2 = 46%), post-traumatic stress (g = -0.59, 95% CI: -0.79, -0.38; I2 = 0%), and mental health-related quality of life (g = 0.32, 95% CI: 0.15, 0.49; I2 = 0%). Conclusions: MBM appears to produce small-to-moderate significant reductions in mental health; however, this evidence is weakened by the risk of study bias and the paucity of studies with psychiatric samples and long-term follow-up.
... Ref. [14] in the paradigm of loving-kindness also emphasize that loving-kindness improves day-to-day experiences of helpful and encouraging emotions. The aspects of compassion and self-kindness are mostly affected by their caring and kindheartedness involvement [37]. Ref. [10] inspect using meta-analysis and systematic review that loving-kindness has a positive effect on compassion. ...
... Ref. [14] in the paradigm of loving-kindness also emphasize that loving-kindness improves day-to-day experiences of helpful and encouraging emotions. The aspects of compassion and self-kindness are mostly affected by their caring and kindheartedness involvement [37]. Ref. [10] inspect using meta-analysis and systematic review that loving-kindness has a positive effect on compassion. ...
Article
Full-text available
Social entrepreneurship has recently become a much-desired area of research for academia, practices, and policymaking. Natural or cognitive personal thoughtfulness like loving-kindness meditation (LKM) and compassion trigger individual intentions towards the social entrepreneurial venture. In this process of individual social entrepreneurial intention personality trait plays a very vital role, such as entrepreneurship resilience. For this study, a purposive sampling technique was incorporated and data was collected from 631 business and management sciences students. Data is analyzed by SPSS 23 and for the hypothesis testing, we used the bootstrap analysis of Hayes PROCESS v3.5. This study depicts that LKM has a positive significant impact on compassion and no significant impact on social entrepreneurship intentions while resilience strengthens the direct relationship of compassion with social entrepreneurship and the indirect relationship of LKM with social entrepreneurship via compassion. This study contributes to solving the economic and social problems over the globe especially by boosting the LKM and resilience traits so that the young graduate commence social entrepreneurship. This study helps the academician and policymakers to adopt strategies through which they can encourage youth to indulge in social entrepreneurial ventures solve the social problem and decrease unemployment.
... Subsequent research indicated that there are several benefits to LKM. For example, participants who took part in an LKM reported higher compassionate love and self-compassion post-intervention when compared to a control condition (Weibel et al., 2017). LKM when compared to mindfulness meditation led to findings relating to enhanced state mindfulness across both meditations (Ilies et al., 2019), while a similar comparison led to establishing a slowdown in biological aging (Le Nguyen et al., 2019). ...
Article
Loving-kindness meditation has been recognized as a valuable form of meditation practice and features in most mindfulness programs. The present research explored the potential of an alternative non-meditative loving-kindness practice; namely, loving-kindness coloring. University students (N= 180) were randomly assigned to the loving-kindness coloring condition or the meditation condition. Both loving-kindness meditation and loving-kindness coloring were explored by measuring state mindfulness, pre-, and post-intervention. Results indicated that both conditions similarly increased in-state mindfulness and self-compassion, and decreased state anxiety, while there were non-significant differences between the practices. We concluded that there are similar levels of effectiveness to loving kindness meditation when introducing loving kindness coloring. Future implications on the applicability of loving-kindness practices are discussed.
... A study examined the effectiveness of the Breathworks' Mindfulness for Stress, which is an 8-week program that helped health care workers reduce depressive symptoms and increase compassion and mindfulness by engaging in meditations and mindful movements (Pizutti, Carissimi, Valdivia, Vieira Ilgenfritz, Freitas, Sopezki, Piva Demarzo, & Hidalgo, 2019). Another study found that Loving-Kindness Meditation that includes 90 minute sessions across four weeks in small groups was effective at reducing anxiety symptoms and increasing compassion love toward others (Weibel, McClintock, & Anderson, 2017). Additionally, the Cultivating Emotional Balance intervention developed by Ekman, Wallace and colleagues focused on Western scientific research by focusing on the four immeasurables of Buddhism, and this intervention is delivered across 6 weeks in 50 minute sessions. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The use of empathy, compassion, and self-compassion can aid in the reduction of workplace suffering due to workplace cyberbullying. As such, this chapter defines each of these constructs and reviews their relevance to the management of workplace bullying. The main purpose of the chapter was to review prosocial interventions that incorporate positive psychological constructs such as empathy, compassion, and self-compassion. Prosocial workplace interventions serve to prevent and reduce workplace cyberbul-lying behavior in at-risk organizations. Interventions can be used to educate and train employees and leaders across organizations on how to cope with workplace cyberbullying as it emerges at work. A case study is offered along with recommendations to highlight how organizations might use an intervention approach to manage workplace cyberbullying. Future research directions are also offered to inspire workplace cyberbullying intervention research in organizations.
Book
Full-text available
Livro digital legalmente registrado, com ISBN, ficha catalográfica, revisão por pares e conselho editorial
Book
Full-text available
Livro digital voltado ao cultivo da compaixão nos cuidados intensivos de saúde em tempos de pandemia (legalmente registrado, com ISBN, ficha catalográfica, revisão por pares e conselho editorial).
Book
Full-text available
Livro digital voltado ao cultivo da compaixão nos cuidados intensivos de saúde em tempos de pandemia (legalmente registrado, com ISBN, ficha catalográfica, revisão por pares e conselho editorial).
Article
Full-text available
Recently, the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) has been criticized for problems with psychometric validity. Further, the use of an overall self-compassion score that includes items representing the lack of self-compassion has been called into question. I argue that the SCS is consistent with my definition of self-compassion, which I see as a dynamic balance between the compassionate versus uncompassionate ways that individuals emotionally respond to pain and failure (with kindness or judgment), cognitively understand their predicament (as part of the human experience or as isolating), and pay attention to suffering (in a mindful or over-identified manner). A summary of new empirical evidence is provided using a bi-factor analysis, which indicates that at least 90 % of the reliable variance in SCS scores can be explained by an overall self-compassion factor in five different populations, justifying the use of a total scale score. Support for a six-factor structure to the SCS was also found; however, suggesting the scale can be used in a flexible manner depending on the interests of researchers. I also discuss the issue of whether a two-factor model of the SCS—which collapses self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness items into a “self-compassion” factor and self-judgment, isolation, and over-identification items into a “self-criticism” factor—makes theoretical sense. Finally, I present new data showing that self-compassion training increases scores on the positive SCS subscales and decreases scores on the negative subscales, supporting the idea that self-compassion represents more compassionate and fewer uncompassionate responses to suffering.
Article
Existing treatments for maladaptive interpersonal dependency and dependent personality disorder do not meet basic scientific standards for effectiveness. The present investigation tested the efficacy of a mindfulness-based approach: mindfulness therapy for maladaptive interpersonal dependency (MT-MID). Forty-eight participants who reported consistently high levels of maladaptive dependency (i.e., scored higher than one standard deviation above the mean on the Interpersonal Dependency Inventory at two separate assessments) were randomized to either five sessions of MT-MID or a minimal contact control. Five self-reported outcomes (mindfulness, maladaptive interpersonal dependency, helplessness, fears of negative evaluation, and excessive reassurance-seeking) were assessed at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and a 4-week follow-up. Intent-to-treat analyses indicated that MT-MID yielded greater improvements than the control on all five outcomes at post-treatment (median d=1.61) and follow-up (median d=1.51). Participants assigned to MT-MID were more likely than control participants to meet criteria for clinically significant change at post-treatment (56.5% vs. 0%) and follow-up (42.9% vs. 0%). There was also evidence that increases in mindfulness mediated the dependency-related improvements. These results provide preliminary support for the efficacy of a mindfulness-based approach for treating the symptoms of maladaptive dependency.
Article
Using outpatients with anxiety and mood disorders (N = 350), the authors tested several models of the structural relationships of dimensions of key features of selected emotional disorders and dimensions of the tripartite model of anxiety and depression. Results supported the discriminant validity of the 5 symptom domains examined (mood disorders; generalized anxiety disorder, GAD; panic disorder; obsessive-compulsive disorder; social phobia). Of various structural models evaluated, the best fitting involved a structure consistent with the tripartite model (e.g., the higher order factors, negative affect and positive affect, influenced emotional disorder factors in the expected manner). The latent factor, GAD, influenced the latent factor, autonomic arousal, in a direction consistent with recent laboratory findings (autonomic suppression); Findings are discussed in the context of the growing literature on higher order trait dimensions (e.g., negative affect) that may be of considerable importance to the understanding of the pathogenesis, course, and co-occurrence of emotional disorders.
Article
This article defines the construct of self-compassion and describes the development of the Self-Compassion Scale. Self-compassion entails being kind and understanding toward oneself in instances of pain or failure rather than being harshly self-critical; perceiving one's experiences as part of the larger human experience rather than seeing them as isolating; and holding painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness rather than over-identifying with them. Evidence for the validity and reliability of the scale is presented in a series of studies. Results indicate that self-compassion is significantly correlated with positive mental health outcomes such as less depression and anxiety and greater life satisfaction. Evidence is also provided for the discriminant validity of the scale, including with regard to self-esteem measures.
Article
Although Cognitive Behavioral treatments for eating disorders are improving, recovery rates, particularly for Anorexia Nervosa, remain low. Recent developments in the understanding of the etiological and maintenance factors in eating disorders have indicated that transdiagnostic treatments may be effective. Compassion Focused Therapy for Eating Disorders (CFT-E) has been developed as a transdiagnostic approach to eating disorders, specifically to address affect regulation difficulties, shame, self-directed hostility, and pride in eating disordered behavior. The current article outlines the philosophical model of CFT-E and describes the stages and phases of CFT-E.
Article
Although clinical interest has predominantly focused on mindfulness meditation, interest into the clinical utility of Buddhist-derived loving-kindness meditation (LKM) and compassion meditation (CM) is also growing. This paper follows the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines and provides an evaluative systematic review of LKM and CM intervention studies. Five electronic academic databases were systematically searched to identify all intervention studies assessing changes in the symptom severity of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (text revision fourth edition) Axis I disorders in clinical samples and/or known concomitants thereof in subclinical/healthy samples. The comprehensive database search yielded 342 papers and 20 studies (comprising a total of 1,312 participants) were eligible for inclusion. The Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies was then used to assess study quality. Participants demonstrated significant improvements across five psychopathology-relevant outcome domains: (i) positive and negative affect, (ii) psychological distress, (iii) positive thinking, (iv) interpersonal relations, and (v) empathic accuracy. It is concluded that LKM and CM interventions may have utility for treating a variety of psychopathologies. However, to overcome obstacles to clinical integration, a lessons-learned approach is recommended whereby issues encountered during the (ongoing) operationalization of mindfulness interventions are duly considered. In particular, there is a need to establish accurate working definitions for LKM and CM.