Right, so I’m going to run through the loving-kindness exercise which is one of the exercises from the videos, and this is a really nice exercise sometimes called the meta loving-kindness exercise. And as I said in the video this works to move us more into our nurture system and away from our fight or flight system.
So we can do this before going into a difficult situation, that may be an interview or meeting new friends, and it can take the emphasis off ourselves and onto the other person or group of people. So we’re actually working in this biological way as well as in a using a strategy which is nice to do.
So the first thing to do is to think about whether you’re going to start with yourself or someone that’s close to you, or a pet. Someone or a pet that you can really feel some nice feelings towards.
And all we do is we first ground ourselves, centering maybe on our breathing and with our hands on the tummy area. And just starting to settle down in the chair, feeling our feet on the ground. And we can then bring to mind a person, whether it’s going to be someone you know, or someone you don’t know, or it could be a close family member.
And just start with thoughts of kindness towards them, and breathing as if it’s coming up and out towards them. As I say here, breathe ‘through the heart’ which is essentially just the idea of breathing from the tummy area and upwards.
And then as we breathe out, It feels like it’s coming through the heart and getting that benefit of the warmth and kindness that it brings about as we just visualise that person, breathing and maybe saying in our minds ‘may you be happy’. May you be healthy. May you be safe.
Just repeating that and you can shorten it as you like – may you be happy, healthy safe.
Just repeating that and just tuning into this quality of sending those positive intentions to the other person. And then we can move onto someone that we know, that’s not particularly close to us. It could be somebody that works in the local shop, and we do the same thing. we would just think about them and wish them well, so it’s just breathing again up and towards them, just expanding outwards this quality of positive intention. May you be happy, may you be healthy. May you be safe, and so on.
Just repeating that and then open it up a bit more, so it could be colleagues at work, or strangers, even someone we’ve got a difficult relationship with. And just having that quality of positive affirmation towards them, and extending out.
If we’ve got difficulty in directing it towards our self, which sometimes we can have, you know, do I deserve it? Or it feels uncomfortable when I’m wishing these things towards myself, then we include ourselves later in the sequence so that we’ve already got into the flow and then we can bring it to ourselves.
You could also bring it to our younger self, from one of the exercises that we talked about in the main videos. So again, may you be happy, be healthy, be safe, may you be at ease. Then with ourselves – may I be happy, may I be healthy, may I be safe.
And be at ease. And just see what the feelings are like as we do this. We’re not judging them. We’re not getting to ‘grabby’ in terms of I want to feel great – why is it not working? We’re just building a quality of shifting the emphasis away from ourselves and how we’re going to be judged in a situation to actually emphasising the other people around us.
If we can do this before perhaps meeting a group, You know try it! Hopefully we’ll be starting to meet up with people again. And going to the pub and meeting social groups generally. And it might quite anxiety inducing. So prior to doing that, we just starting to think about putting the emphasis on the other person, being interested in the other people and wishing them well.
We can do that in advance of going into the situation. And hopefully the attention will be off of us in terms of us being self-conscious, and we’re being more interested and positive towards those around us. And that should switch off our fight or flight mechanism. Try it – you might be surprised with the feelings that start to be generated as you do this exercise more and more often. And you know, with all these exercises, once we start practicing them they’ll become easier and easier. And our body and mind will be like ‘oh, we’re doing this thing’ and will get into the flow more and more easily. We can do it more automatically.
There is also a link to a website page which describes this practice in more detail. This will be on one of the download pages in the resources pages on the website.