Meditation increases self love and this improves our mental health, says new study.

It has been known for millennia that there are many benefits of meditation for mental health. Buddhists monks knew that over 2500 years ago. And over recent years scientific research has shown that meditation does indeed improve mental health. However, it is only now that we beginning to understand precisely how meditation improves mental health. Self love, it seems, is the key.

The importance of compassion is well documented. Compassion and self love have been scientifically proven to have many mental health benefits, from helping with depression to helping us overcome addictions. And it seems to main way meditation improves mental health is through self love.  This was proven in a new scientific study published In the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

The Pontifical University of Salamanca in Spain conducted a study of 414 meditators and 414 “non-meditators. The results illuminate precisely how meditation improves mental health. In a recent interview, the lead author José Ramon Yela said, “[There is a demand to] identify why meditation can produce positive psychological effects” The results of the study show that “meditation was positively associated with mental health, although the regularity of practice was an influential element to be considered.”  The results showed that people with more experience meditating have better mental health on average.

The authors state that the regular practice of meditation increases self love and this creates a chain reaction of mechanisms that unfolds over time. By increasing self love, meditation leads to a more meaningful life with less avoidance behaviours, ultimately resulting in better mental health.

Some of the most powerful meditation techniques for self love included the Buddhist techniques Karuna meditation, and the highly popular Loving Kindness Meditation. These two techniques are both about meditating on positive relationships with ourselves and with other people.

The study authors reviewed previously published research into the benefits of meditation for mental health. After reading, they hypothesised that there were three primary ways meditation improves mental health: self love, experiencing heightened meaning in life, and reducing the amount that people avoid thoughts and emotions that are unpleasant.

In the study, participants completed a questionnaire on self compassion, how much meaning they see in life, and the amount to which they avoid negative thoughts and feelings. The study leads do state that “[The study] has some limitations, such as the fact that it is complicated to make causal attributions concerning the relationships among variables. For this reason, we are also carrying out longitudinal research.”

Self love helps us to stay strong in the worst times, which are the times when mental health problems are most likely to develop. “”Being self-compassionate is especially important when a person goes through a difficult period in life,” the study authors tell us. “In this sense, it is important to clarify the meaning of self-compassion, which includes three components.”

3 Components Of Self Love Meditation Helps With

1: Self-forgiveness and self criticism: Self-criticism can undermine our confidence and lead to depression. One of the links between meditation and self that when we meditate we become more aware of negative self talk and also less reactive to it. We are able to perceive thoughts as just thoughts, and this reduces their effect on us.

2: Recognising pain as human experience: One part of self love is understanding that degrees of pain, dissatisfaction and suffering are inevitable. It is all part of life’s journey. Meditation helps us to step back at those difficult times and to say, “This is just a moment in the course of life.”

3: Awareness of thoughts without reaction: One of the primary causes of stress, anxiety and other issues is placing too much value on thoughts and feeling. Negative thoughts and feelings can impact our self love. Meditation lets us calmly observe these thoughts and feelings without dwelling on them or being consumed by them.

In conclusion, the researchers state that meditation improves self love and this in turn has numerous benefits for our mental health.

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Written by Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.