Accumulating evidence from the last two decades suggests self-compassion is central to psychological well-being and reduced psychopathology symptoms. Loving-kindness meditations (LKMs), a mindfulness practice that involves sending feelings of kindness to oneself, loved ones, and all beings, may increase feelings of self-compassion. The aim of this meta-analysis is to evaluate the effect of LKMs on self-compassion in adults.
Peer-reviewed journal articles and dissertations written in English with adult samples, quantitative analysis of a LKM, and measured self-compassion using the Self-Compassion Scale were included in the meta-analysis. Seven articles met inclusion criteria following a systematic search.
We found a moderate overall effect of LKMs on self-compassion (g = 0.44, p < 0.0001), indicating LKMs are effective at increasing self-compassion in adults.
Self-compassion can be increased in adults using LKMs. Given the role of self-compassion in well-being, future research should test increasing self-compassion as a mechanism of the effect of LKMs on psychological health.