Loving-kindness meditation focuses on developing and generating goodwill, kindness and warmth towards self and others. It is also know as metta (Pali) or maitri (Sanksrit) practice.
Along with the many benefits this practice provides such as benefiting wellbeing, improving emotional intelligence and offering relief from illness*, there is now recent research from the University of North Carolina ** which has shown practicing loving-kindness meditation may protect your genes and slow biological ageing.
The highlights of this study showed that over a 12 week period loving-kindness meditation buffered telomere length attrition. There were 3 groups involved in the study; 1 group learnt mindfulness meditation, 1 group learnt loving-kindness meditation and 1 group was the no-training control group. The loving-kindness group showed less telomere attrition than the control group and the mindfulness meditation group (as shown on the graph attached below). More research is needed to determine what it is about loving-kindness meditation that may safeguard telomeres from the effects of stress and biological ageing. (The link to the full paper is provided below **).
Note - The full practice and course of Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation (MBSM), which we practice together in class, includes both mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation.
I hope you find this information interesting and helpful.