Mindfulness skills are the foundation of all Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills training. The problems addressed by core mindfulness skills are knowing who you are, where you are going in your life, and the inability to control what goes on in your mind. Mindfulness encourages you to live in the moment by focusing on the present.
Loving Kindness is a Mindfulness practice you can do to increase love and compassion for yourself and others. It can help us let go of judgment and hostility. Loving Kindness is included in the Spiritual perspective on Mindfulness because it can be like saying a prayer for yourself or another person.
In Loving Kindness, you actively send warm wishes and good will to yourself and others. To practice this Mindfulness exercise, do the following:
- Choose a person you love or yourself to send loving kindness toward. This person may be yourself.
- Begin by breathing slowly and deeply. Use Willing Hands as you bring the person to mind.
- Radiate loving kindness by reciting these wishes: “May I be happy. May I be at peace. May I be healthy. May I be safe.” You may customize these wishes to what is meaningful to you. Repeat them in your mind and focus on the substance of each word. If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your script. Continue until you feel yourself blanketed in loving kindness.
- Work yourself through loved ones, friends, those you are angry with, people you find difficult, enemies, and finally, all beings in the universe. For example, when referring to others say “May Preethi be happy. May Preethi be at peace” etc. as you practice loving kindness toward Preethi.
- Practice each day starting with yourself and moving on to others.
Loving kindness can be very difficult at first. It may bring up feelings of ill will you have toward yourself or others. However, with practice, you can detach from those feelings and bathe in loving kindness instead. Be patient with yourself when you first start practicing.