Everyone is supposedly a little bit Irish, right? Even for a little while on St. Patrick’s Day?

So, being light hearted should be an easy task, right? After all, leprechauns appear to be free spirited, but in reality, their folklore history is one of being mischievous and somewhat of a trouble maker.

But, having a bit of fun and laughter doesn’t hurt anyone. Being carefree and having the enthusiasm to engage in the motion and flow of life without worrying about who is seeing or hearing your merriment, just might be the answer.

The Origins of St. Patrick’s Day

In thinking about lightheartedness, the origins of St. Patrick’s Day come to mind. March 17 marked a day of a celebration with food, music, song and dance – in other words, merriment. While the history of St. Patrick’s Day dates as far back as medieval times and began as the Roman Catholic feast day of the patron saint of Ireland, its evolution of gaiety is felt throughout the United States, Ireland and the world.

The idea of using parades as a way to celebrate this holiday – which, by the way, originated in the United States in 1762 – is part of the history of merriment, leprechauns, and shamrocks. All of this is rooted in Irish Christian traditions, with the shamrock (clover) becoming a symbol for not only this particular day, but the badge of Ireland.

If one was to find a four-leaf clover, luck was on your side. Although unclear how the traditional superstition got started, each leaf symbolizes hope, faith, love, and luck.

Sing As If Nobody’s Listening

Perhaps being lighthearted is all about the luck of the Irish, but, how can it help a caregiver when it seems as if the tasks of providing care bring us down and restrain us from a positive energy?

During this month, Hope Grows has been incorporating a few mantras that evoke a sense of cheerfulness and lightheartedness. “Sing as if nobody’s listening,” “Dance as if nobody’s watching,” and “Love like you have never been hurt” are ways in which we can mindfully take part. Creating and engaging in moments of laughter, song and movement can be the best way to keep that positive energy you need to ward off negativity, with love being the result of these lighthearted tasks.

“Laugh and the whole world laughs with you,” said Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist from the University College of London. A study revealed that laughing is truly contagious because the brain responds to the sound of laughter and preps the face muscles for the fun of it.

Belt out a chorus or two in the shower. Singing has been known to release endorphins, the feel-good brain chemical that helps us to be happy and elevated. The benefits are similar to physical exercise.

Put on some dance music and get moving. Dancing boosts mood and has an overall effect on the brain and health. Dancing can involve others, therefore, increasing our social interactions as beneficial to ward off any feelings of isolation.

And if love is not the result of engaging in these moments of fun, just remember to love yourself. It is the best medicine out there. So, be positive, and create a little bit of mischief and trouble making, but not too much, Hope Grows doesn’t want to read about you in the paper…lol.

Lightheartedness

LAUGH

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HAVE THE ABILITY TO LOVE YOURSELF

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ENTHUSIASM

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DANCE

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SING

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