February 2017 Tool of the Month: Lovingkindness Meditation Tracking Worksheet

It’s apparent from the data that practicing lovingkindness meditation (LKM) has a host of benefits (see our prior blog post if you would like more evidence). However, just knowing that something is good for us doesn’t always mean that we will change our behavior to move toward it -- yep, I’m looking at you, spinach! One way to help support and sustain behavior change is to track our behavior and its consequences. For this reason, when we introduce the idea of LKM in groups or with individual clients, we encourage people to use a daily tracking form. Every day, people can record whether they practiced LKM, what happened during the practice, and if they noticed any changes as a result of the practice. We encourage clients to approach this tracking as a scientist would an experiment—be curious and collect data. We ask them to track any patterns that may have emerged, indicating what worked and what didn’t work. We encourage them to track whether the data support our hypothesis that LKM might be beneficial to their therapy goals, or whether we should try something else.

Below is the tracking form we use in our Big Heart, Open Wide groups for the first week of LKM practice. We give them a modified tracking form every week thereafter for the remainder of the class so that they can continue to track their own cumulative experiences with the practice. Feel free to use it or modify it to include specific data you and your client might want to collect about how LKM might function in their lives.

Handout: Lovingkindness Practice Tracking

  • Lovingkindness meditation stimulates our brain’s social safety system, which is the emotion system related to experiences of safety, peacefulness, contentment, curiosity, and friendliness.
  • High self-critics tend to have under activated social-safety systems. Lovingkindness meditation has been shown to strengthen the social safety system, making it more accessible when you need it.
  • Research shows that the more you practice lovingkindness meditation, the stronger its effects become.
  • Remember, lovingkindness meditation is not necessarily about feeling “warm fuzzy” emotions. Rather, it’s about strengthening the social safety system. Sometimes you may feel pleasant emotions, sometimes you may not. It’s common for high self-critics to feel anxious when first starting LKM, but that tends to change over time.
  • Complete the relevant row of the tracking sheet each day you practiced LKM this week, at the end of the day. And remember, try to approach this with curiosity and openness.


Day of the week What happened during the practice? Did I notice any changes as a result of the practice? Did practicing seem to affect how my day went?
















Did you encounter any difficulties in doing the LKM practice this week? Describe those below:




Did you encounter anything that made doing LKM easier or more effective? Describe those below:



Did/does your self critic have anything to say about the lovingkindness practice? Does your critic say this practice is lazy, selfish, indulgent, or that you are doing it wrong or that you don’t deserve to do it? Or does your critic say anything else?



What do you think you have to learn from the LKM practice?



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