What better time than February, the month of Valentine’s to show yourself some love!  In this connected world of instant response times, demands of work, family and even friends we often forget to take time for ourselves.  

When is the last time you spent time alone in silence with only your thoughts or practiced being present in the moment? When is the last time you reflected on the wonderful things you have accomplished or are working towards in your life and showed yourself some appreciation for the person you are.

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. Often when people hear the word mindfulness, they relate it to yoga and/or meditation. Although mindfulness is at the core of these things, you do not have to meditate or practice yoga to be mindful or present. The art of being present is simply bringing all of your awareness and attention to the moment you are in. Noticing your surroundings and experiencing your feelings. When we are mindful, we are more in tune with our thoughts, emotions, and body sensations. It gives us an opportunity to fall in love with all that we are.

To be fully present takes work. Our brains naturally want to share so many things with us at any given time, but it is not our brain’s fault. We are consistently told we need to multitask. We check multiple social media sites at one time. We are cooking dinner while entertaining the children. We are studying for an exam while listening to media and updating our snapchat story. Our poor brains do not have a chance! Unless of course, we are willing to give it one.

There are so many benefits to practicing mindfulness and being present. In fact, studies suggest that those who tend to live in the moment are happier, calmer, more relaxed and appreciative. They are more focused, even when not practicing mindfulness and less stressed. In addition, researchers have found that the simple act of practicing mindfulness increases both brain activ­ity and brain tissue.

I have been practicing mindfulness for a number of years now. It’s easy to get caught up in the crazy of life sometimes, but when I feel that happening, I will stop, take a few deep breaths, and bring my awareness back to the present moment. This tends to work well for me, to the point I do not have to think about being present most times—I just am.

The beautiful thing about being present is that it applies to everything in life. Think of a world where you cherish every moment you have and savour each and every emotion that tran­scends through you, a world where you can clear your mind of the clutter and simply focus on what is before you. What an extraordinary world this is.

When we are mindful, we are more in tune with who we are as a person and more apt to be accepting of ourselves – knowing that we are always enough. Being mindful allows us to have less than perfect days and, even on those days, still know that we are enough. Mindfulness helps us be our best selves day in and day out. That said, it is important to remember that being your best is not synonymous with being perfect. There is no perfection in the world and one should never try to hold themselves to something that doesn’t exist. 

So during this time of celebrating love, take some time to revel in all of the awesomeness you have within and around you. 

What are you going to do to show yourself some love today?