Cultivating Lightheartedness

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By Tish King | January 29, 2018

Jocund January is coming to a close here at Solace, but before January ends I wanted to reflect on what the word Jocund actually means. I stumbled upon the word when searching for positive J-words for our new "I Define Strong" Calendar. June and July were given the obvious choices; Joyful and Jubilant, but even after brainstorming we could not think of a satisfactory word for January. A quick search however, lead me to learn a new word and adopt a new philosophy.

The Meaning of Jocund.

Jocund means to be cheerful and lighthearted, but for many being told to “cheer up” or “relax” may seem more like an impossible demand than a light suggestion. According to Psychology Today lightheartedness can be used as a tool of coping. It’s suggested that instead of prolonged angst and lamenting in a difficult situation, a lighthearted approach may bring about peace and mental balance.

What lightheartedness means to meditation?

Being lighthearted and cheerful is not the same as being carefree. In fact a cornerstone of meditation is to allow your thoughts and cares to flow by without chasing after them. Meditation, in essence, is an exercise in lightheartedness. When you allow your thoughts and cares to flow unrestrained you can acknowledge them without feeling weighed down by them.

Tony Ouvry, a meditation expert, says “Lightheartedness is a state of mind and being that combines the elements of serious mindedness and deep caring with a sense of lightness and fun. It avoids the extremes of either being over serious and heavy in our approach or resorting to purely superficial/hedonistic fun as an ‘escape’ from the pressures of our life” (Psychology Today).

Cultivating Lightheartedness through Meditation.

Psychology Today reports that one meditation technique that can be used to cultivate lightheartedness is Relaxation Response. To do the Relaxation Response technique:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position.
  2. Repeat a comforting phrase, prayer, poem, song or rhyme.
  3. Breathe in a concentrated way.
  4. Maintain a passive attitude.

To further achieve lightheartedness Ouvry suggests saying, “I hold it lightly,” when breathing in and saying “I care deeply,” when breathing out (Psychology Today).

This exercise allows you to acknowledge your concerns without being controlled by them. And, building proficiency in the technique should become a valuable tool in coping with everyday stressors.

Sources:

Psychology Today


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