by Kyle Kick
BStrong Together Executive Director
February is often thought of as the month of love. There are many different kinds of love - romantic love, family love, friendship love, self love – and many views of love from the romantic to the scientific. Throughout time, humans have tried to define love. If you Google “what is love?” you will find 912 million results in 0.53 seconds. I know because I tried it. There are songs and poems, books and photographs, websites and Pinterest pages all devoted to the question, “What is love?”
We often think about love as our connection to ourselves and to one another. Science has proven that a powerful tool in developing and nurturing the connection to self and others is mindfulness. In its simplest terms, mindfulness is a mental state of being where you are open and actively attentive in the present. When practicing mindfulness, you are consciously aware of your body and the world around you in the moment, and as you experience your thoughts and feeling, you are open and acknowledging of them with kindness and without judgement. This acceptance of and connection to self that develops through mindful practice helps to guide our relationships and loving connections to others.
As a parent, mindfulness is an important technique that can be used as you seek to create moments of connection with your family in our busy, chaotic world. BStrong Together Speaker, Dr. Shimi Kang, stresses the value of mindfulness and downtime for our children and for ourselves in our quest for a healthy, happy, successful life. Mindfulness brings us to the present, allows us to listen to our bodies, helps us to be aware of both the world around us and our inner thoughts and feelings, and creates space for gratitude, empathy, and compassion to grow.
So, this month, try to make a conscious effort to slow down. Be present. Breathe deeply. Listen to your inner voice. Invite your children to join you. Help them to name their emotions and identify where they are felt in their body. Take time for the quiet. Pay close attention with your whole self to your internal and external world. Listen to your intuition. Respond with empathy and kindness toward yourself and your children, especially in moments of stress and missteps. Bring your attention fully to your children in these meaningful moments, for it is in these moments that we create loving, nurturing connections.
Happy month of love!
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