Loving-kindness and compassion meditation involves cultivating a love for people who are suffering. Loving-kindness meditation can change your neural circuitry even faster than mindfulness meditation.
Typically, in loving-kindness meditation, you repeat certain phrases in your head, such as "may I be safe," "may I be healthy". After you wish these things for yourself, you wish the same things for people you love, and then you circle out.
During the past two decades, more and more scientists have studied mindfulness -a collection of practices aimed at helping us to cultivate moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment. Their early findings triggered an enormous amount of enthusiasm for meditation.
Meditation helps to counter our tendency to stop paying attention to new information in our environment. Other studies have found that mindfulness meditation can reduce mind-wandering and improve attention.
Larger randomized controlled trials are still needed to understand how meditation might work with other treatments to help people manage attention-deficit disorders.
Would you describe yourself as a compassionate person? Even if you don't necessarily see yourself that way, I bet you're compassionate at least some of the time (e.g., when you're well-rested and not in a hurry), or with certain people in your life (e.g., with your closest friends).
Meditation yields a surprising number of health benefits, including stress reduction, improved attention, better memory, and even increased creativity and feelings of compassion. But how can something as simple as focusing on a single object produce such dramatic results?