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The COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest have increased individuals’ stress, anxiety, and social isolation. In response, a resounding call has gone out for more resources to buffer the effects of this psychological burden. One free and accessible resource is meditation; lovingkindness meditation is particularly beneficial and increases positive emotionality, psychological well-being, prosocial behavior, and social connectedness. Meditation is theorized to confer these benefits through fostering an allocentric spatial frame of reference. An allocentric spatial frame of reference is a view of the self that extends beyond the boundary of the body and is accompanied by a heightened sense of connection to the world as a whole. While other meditations have been found to foster more allocentric spatial frames of reference, lovingkindness meditation is absent from the literature on this topic. The current study examined if a short lovingkindness meditation increases allocentric frames of reference in a sample of non-meditators. One hundred and ninety-four non-meditators took the Spatial Frame of Reference Continuum – 7 points to measure their spatial frames of reference before and after a 13-minute lovingkindness meditation. Data analysis revealed that the lovingkindness meditation had a moderate positive effect (d = 0.54) on individuals’ allocentric spatial frame of reference. Future researchers should compare the effectiveness of lovingkindness meditation with other types of meditation. A regular lovingkindness meditation practice may help individuals expand their sense of self and access positive benefits that will help them deal with the stress and anxiety of current events.
Meditation; Sense of self; Spatial frame of reference; Lovingkindness
Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry and Psychology
Watt, John, "Lovingkindness Meditation Alters Sense of Self in Non-Meditators" (2021). Undergraduate Research Symposium Podium Presentations. 15.