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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- they make us social - memories can help us form new relationships and maintain current ones.
- 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.
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.
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
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!
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