How to Develop Lightheartedness


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Lightheartedness is the ability to keep your sense of humor as you face life’s most difficult challenges. It is a spiritual quality associated with inner strength, faith, and the ability to face life’s adversities with a positive mental attitude. Finally, it’s a sign of courage and the ability to inspire others when, together, you are facing a difficulty that is overwhelming.

In order to be lighthearted, you must allow yourself to be spontaneous and willing to laugh at yourself. But laughter is like love: it can’t happen by force or prescription. But it can always flourish in a lighthearted environment.

Here is a list of seven activities that help you develop lightheartedness by teaching you how to be spontaneous and willing to laugh at yourself. Most of the activities that follow are designed as group activities. That’s how you learn to suspend judgment of yourself and others and become playful, spontaneous, and fun-loving.

1. Host a Poetry Jam. It may be theme-free, or it may have a theme. Everyone is invited to write a poem, free from rules, but with a lighthearted tone. Unleash your imagination and create a poem that you like. Then, present it to the group. You might add more drama and fun if you dress the part.

2. Have a Game Night. Choose a game that gives opportunities for laughs and have a game night, e. g. Charades, Twister, or board games. Prepare a relaxed, fun environment in which you can feel free to laugh. Dress comfortably and adopt a playful attitude. Remember, this is not a contest. The one who laughs the most is the real winner.

3. Have a Comedy Fest. Remember and describe the funniest thing that has ever happened to you or tell a story that makes you laugh. Then, ask the members in your group to describe what makes them laugh. Or, you can do impersonations of people who inspire you to impersonate them. You can make this even more entertaining if you dress-up like the people you impersonate and stage a skit or mini-play. It becomes even funnier if the people you impersonate are completely irrelevant in real life.

4. Share Your Funniest Videos or Movies. Create a comedy video library with your group and start a regular comedy night, alternating homes. Dress comfortably, bring food, relax and laugh. Remember, at no point must an activity about humor become work.

5. Write a Funny Story as a Collective Effort. Have one member write a sentence on a piece of paper. Then the paper is folded so that the sentence can not be seen, and the author tells only the last word of the sentence. The next person writes a new sentence, folds the paper so the sentence cannot be seen, tells the last word to the next one, and so on. The group can decide how long the “story" will be. At the end, the papers are unfolded and the story is read.

6. Create the Funniest Headline You Can from Word Soup. Cut words from tabloid headlines and fill a basket. Choose up to ten words from the basket and create your own headline. You may write a short article elaborating on the headline. Unleash your imagination. Read your headlines and articles to the group. Keep in mind the points about humor explained in this chapter and enjoy yourself.

7. Perform a Skit in a Foreign Language. Create ten cards describing simple life situations (e. g. : wanting to go to the bathroom, asking directions to the pharmacy, ordering a tuna sandwich in a restaurant, trying to buy a gift for a relative in a department store). Pick one card and choose one or two other people with whom you will perform the skit but do not let them read your card. Let the rest of the group read the card. Then, begin acting out the scenario with your partners. In the skit, pretend that you are a tourist visiting a foreign country, and the other actors are natives of that country. All actors must pretend to speak a “foreign" language. (You do not have to know a foreign language, only pretend that you speak one. ) Using, pantomime, body language and sign language, try to explain to your partners what your situation is. The more spontaneous and inventive you are, the funnier your interactions may be. Enjoy yourselves.

Remember that lightheartedness is a sign of strength and that it is as important for your happiness and giving and receiving love.


Maria Grace, Ph. D. , is an expert at teaching people how to learn lessons from popular movies to find the job, home, relationship, and healthy body and mind they want. She is a Fulbright scholar, licensed psychotherapist, sought-after public speaker and coach, and the author of “Reel Fulfillment: A 12-Step Plan for Transforming Your Life through Movies" (McGraw-Hill, 2005). “Reel Fulfillment" was praised by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the top “self help books out of the self-help box" for 2005-2006.

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