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    Here’s How To Be More Compassionate When Times Are Tough

    By Emily Earlenbaugh - 4 min read

    Person writing in a journal

    It’s pretty intense out there, friends. We get it. Your alarm goes off. You hop out of bed, rush to start working, figure out what your kids are going to do while they’re stuck at home. You’re also pounding coffee while finding your daytime sweatpants. And before you know it, it’s 5:00 pm, and you’ve checked off a million items on your list without a break, and without a moment of time for YOU. While this intensity might make us feel like we are maximizing our efficiency and staying on top of our game, it can wreak havoc on our bodies, leave our minds unfocused, and keep us feeling disconnected from our hearts.

    So how can we reconnect with ourselves and find compassion and mindfulness in our day?

    Create New Rituals

    One way is to create simple daily rituals that can bring us back into a loving and empathetic place. This can help us create an atmosphere of kindness for ourselves and those around us. A quick compassion exercise or meditation during your day can reset your energy and help you reorient as you continue your work. It only takes a few minutes but can make a big difference in how you feel and may even boost your productivity.

    And what better way to supercharge this ritual than by adding some cannabis to the mix? Cannabis has actually been used in meditative rituals for thousands of years1 … so why not include it in yours?

    Cannabis Mindfulness Rituals Add Compassion To Your Day

    As it turns out, cannabis can actually help us to feel more loving and compassionate. Cannabis users have been reporting that cannabis helps them to be more thoughtful and empathetic for ages. Recently studies on cannabis have found out why. Studies show that cannabis’s primary ingredient, THC, can actually trigger chemicals associated with these warm and fuzzy feelings2 such as oxytocin3 and serotonin4. So when you spark a joint or take a cannabis mint and start to feel kinder – it’s because these pro-love chemicals are being released.

    Related Article: How To Enjoy Cannabis Without Getting High

    But it’s not just THC that can help. CBD, another cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, can also boost serotonin5. As a bonus, it is excellent for calming stress6

    Terpenes, the scents, and flavors in plants (including cannabis) are also proven to have calming benefits. The terpene Linalool7, also found in lavender, can be a big help with this as well. It calms anxiety8 and can also help boost loving and happy feelings by increasing serotonin9 and decreasing the ability of stress to lower oxytocin10.

    Beta-caryophyllene11, also found in black pepper, is another helpful terpene for this. It can increase dopamine12, another chemical associated with love and compassion.

    Finally, the terpene Myrcene13 may aid our ability to feel loving and empathetic by activating GABA14, yet another chemical associated with these feelings.

    So, while cannabis can help in general, products with higher levels of terpenes and cannabinoids can give you a big burst of loving, compassionate feelings and get you back in touch with your heart.

    Two Afternoon Rituals For Reconnecting With Yourself

    Once you have a good cannabis option to utilize, blend this in with a mindfulness practice that engages your heart. This can be as simple as meditating for a few minutes or as intensive as a completing 60-minute heart centering yoga practice. It’s all up to you. But, if you don’t know where to start, here are two potential rituals to try – each one geared at reconnecting to your heart.

    Sending and Receiving

    One beautiful and time-tested practice for re-engaging your heart is called ‘sending and receiving.’ To do this ritual, find a time each day where you can meditate for at least five minutes undisturbed. If you are using an inhaled method of cannabis, you can use it during meditation. Inhale cannabis on any of your ‘in-breaths’, otherwise use it at the very beginning of your ritual.

    Begin by making yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Then think of someone who sparks loving or compassionate feelings for you. It might be a partner, a parent, a child, a friend, or even a pet. Just imagine whoever is easy to love and notice the feelings that arise. Then envision yourself and start to get in touch with the challenges you are going through today.

    Then begin to notice your breathing.

    As you breathe in, imagine that you are inhaling all the pain and challenge and difficulty from your day. Traditionally this can be imagined as thick hot smoke, so you can do this in your imagination or add cannabis to your inhale.

    Then, as your breath out, imagine you are breathing out love, compassion, and relief from all the pain you breathed in. You can also visualize your out-breath as a clean, fresh breeze. Continue to alternate, breathing in suffering, and breathing out compassion and relief.

    Related Article: Terpenes Tuesday: Calm-Inducing Playlist For A High-Anxiety Week

    Experience, Love, Release

    Another compassionate ritual you can do for yourself is a 3 step process for accepting your own experience and allowing your emotional energy to shift. In this ritual, start by using your cannabis and then settle into a comfortable position where you won’t be disturbed.

    1. Experience: The first step is to close your eyes and notice what is happening in your inner world. What are you feeling? What sensations and emotions are present in your body? With a non-judgmental curiosity, begin to pay attention to these aspects of your experience.
    2. Love: While you may find that many of the sensations or feelings in your body are ones you wish you didn’t have, take a moment to allow these sensations to exist without resistance. Make friends with the feelings, sending it vibes of warmth or love. Let the sensation know that it’s ok for it to be there.
    3. Release

    Once you are feeling at peace with the sensations in your body, open your eyes and let your attention naturally shift to the world outside of your body. As you do this, you may notice that the sensations shift or release. Repeat the steps as many times as needed.

    Now go forth and face this crazy world.

    Related Article: Got Coronavirus Anxiety? Terpenes and Meditation Can Help