How to Feel More Love for Our Kids (and others)

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Life as a teacher or parent can be hard, and we need all the help we can get being more loving, patient, and compassionate.

In the first issue in our Love series, I explored how experiencing our negative feelings can create more love and wellbeing for us.

In this issue, I want to share a practice that we used to do with our kids at home regularly (we need to pick it up again!). This practice, called “loving kindness meditation” or “metta” has been shown by multiple studies to increase our compassion, kindness, and social connections.

Metta asks us to send kind thoughts to ourselves, people we know, people we may not know, and even a person with whom we are having difficulties.

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Monks and serious practitioners who have done loving kindness meditation for 10,000 hours or more can have significantly more activation in the empathy and emotion areas of their brains via MRI scans.

However, even 10 minute of loving kindness meditation a day has been shown to increase people’s feelings of social connection and positivity towards strangers.

Metta even helps people experience less interpersonal bias.

Click here for summary of studies by Dr. Emma Seppalla

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Want to give Loving Kindness meditation a try?

Short loving kindness practices for kids

By Sharon Salzberg
By Greater Good

Longer (20 minute) loving kindness practice from our family that has been modified by our kids (You can shorten this by reading only the bold lines)
Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta) for kids
Adopted from: http://www.buddhanet.net/metta_k3.htm
By Gregory Kramer
BEGIN by sending loving-kindness to yourself.

Think:
May I be free from anger.
May I be free from sadness.
May I be free from pain.
May I be free from jealousy.
May I be free from fear.
May I be free from all suffering.
May I be filled with loving-kindness.
May I be happy and healthy and healthy.
May I be at peace.

I spread this loving-kindness out.
I send love to my family members
who live here with me and to our pets Zoe and Maggie.

May they be free from pain and sadness.
May they be free from anger and fear.
May they be free from all suffering.
May they be healthy and happy.
May they be at peace.

I now send loving-kindness to our good friends and family members who live far away.
May they be free from sadness and anger.
May they be free from sickness and worry.
May they be free from all suffering.
May they be happy and free.
May they be at peace.

I now send loving-kindness to the teachers and kids at school
and the faculty, staff, and students at the University.
and to all our colleagues around the world who are doing peace work.
May they be free from sorrow, suffering, and anger.
May they be happy and healthy.
May they be at peace.

I now send loving kindness to one person i’m not getting along with or I’m upset with.
May that person be free from sorrow, anger, bitterness, and illness.
May they be free of suffering of any kind.
May they be happy and healthy.
May they be free and at peace.

I now send loving-kindness to all the people I don’t know – everywhere on this earth.
May all people on the planet be free from suffering.
All people of all ages and backgrounds.
May they be free from pain, grief, sickness and despair.
May they be happy and healthy.
May they be at peace.

I now send loving-kindness to all beings of all kinds.
All the animals and birds, and fishes, and plants and trees.
All the insects, bees, and amoebas [AH-MEE-BAS] and tiny unseen microbes.
All beings and creatures, with no exceptions.
May they all be happy and healthy.
May they all be free.
May they be at peace.

I now open my heart and accept loving-kindness of every being and creature in return.
I let that love into my heart.
And I share the benefits of this meditation with everyone.
May all beings be well and happy.
May there be peace.

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