4 min read

Prompt 17: Remember

Prompt 17: Remember
Photo by Laura Fuhrman / Unsplash
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This week my prompt word is 'remember'.

Anyone who knows me will chuckle at this one because I have the memory of a goldfish - but humour me.

I stumbled across a short article a few weeks ago titled Why do I dwell on the past which gave me food for thought.

It is written by Laura Jobson - a lecturer in Clinical Psychology - who argues the case for putting aside time to remember.

Instant photo of the word "memories" in a jar
Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

4 Important Roles that Memories Play

While some people might not like to dwell on the past, Laura argues that memories play four important roles.

  1. they help us form our identity - they give us a sense of continuity and provide details of who we are and who we want to be.
  2. they help us solve problems - when we remember what we learned and how we solved problems in the past, they can help us unlock problems in the present.
  3. they make us social - memories can help us form new relationships and maintain current ones.
  4. they help us regulate our emotions - they provide us with similar situations to what we are currently in and help us to work out how to manage our emotions in the present.

Note: Laura does make the point that excessive, repetitive dwelling upon the past in a negative way can be problematic but suggests that if we do it positively and constructively that it can be beneficial.

I think these reasons make a lot of sense to me.

While I tend to be a fairly future-oriented person, and in my spare moments tend to focus more on my dreams for what lies ahead, I do think that turning our minds back can be very beneficial.

One might even argue that the keys to our future dreams coming true might be locked away in the memories of where we've previously been!
I found this autograph album from the 1920’s in a thrift shop. It looks as though it was something used like a year book for friends to sign after graduating or the end of the school year. The photo was probably taken in the 40’s. It’s of my mother-in-law and her dad. It seemed fitting to use it with this autograph book as it complements the vintage image and memories of times long gone.
Photo by Debby Hudson / Unsplash

Tips for Remembering

Laura suggests a few tips, including:

  • setting aside certain times for memories - for example, 15 minutes a day to write in a diary
  • practising remembering specific positive memories
  • learning and practising mindfulness strategies (to break cycles of negative memories)
  • being proactive/constructive when you remember - generating ideas to solve problems rather than just being passive with the memory.

I think it's also important to emphasise that if remembering is a painful thing and unearths trauma, you must be kind to yourself and seek help. Remembering trauma is probably best done with the support of trained professionals.

Prompt: Set aside some time for your memories

So this week - I thought it might be good to set aside some time this week for your memories.

Photo by Roman Kraft / Unsplash

The way you do this could take many forms:

  • perhaps as Laura suggests, you might do it in a diary or journal
  • maybe you might like to do it as a meditation
  • you might want to do it in conversation with someone who shares some memories with you
  • maybe it might happen as you look back on some old photos and choose some to put up around your home
  • perhaps you might want to take a trip back to a place you once lived
  • maybe you could create a memory board on a corkboard or fill a little box with some items that spark memories for you
  • or you might listen to some music or watch a movie that helps bring back memories
My childhood girl gang
Photo by Anita Jankovic / Unsplash

What you remember could take you in many directions. Here are just a few suggestions if you're struggling:

  • Remember a good time - savour it, enjoy it, and learn from it.
  • Remember a tough time - what did you learn? How has it made you a better person?
  • Remember a person - what did they teach you? How did the relationship start? What did you admire about them?
  • Remember a lesson learnt - how might that lesson apply today?
  • Remember a milestone - relive the moment. How did it shape you?
  • Remember when you overcame a challenge or problem - how did you do it? What can you learn from the experience?
  • Remember when you felt sparks were flying - why did they fly?
  • Remember what you wanted to be when you grew up as a child - how might that apply to what you do in the present (or what you could do in the future)?
  • Remember a song or a movie - what does it make you feel when you hear it?
  • Remember a time you were brave - how did it feel? What did you learn?
  • Remember a meaningful place - why was it meaningful?
  • Remember an activity you used to enjoy - why did you enjoy it? Why did you stop? Could you do something like it again?

I hope this week's prompt leads you to some happy memories and a constructive time that informs and inspires you in the present!

If you have a moment and want to share with us how you go, please stop by the Facebook group!

"To be human is to have a collection of memories that tells you who you are and how you got there."

Rosecrans Baldwin

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