Do you remember when?
Positive memories are good for us.
I heard a muffled cry coming from the next room. Tears and blonde hair stuck in streaks across her face.
“I didn’t like that dream,” a small voice quivered.
Hugs in the middle of the night, a favorite stuffed bear, and a secure tuck of the blanket calmed dream-state fears. I gave one last caress.
“Think happy thoughts.”
Does that advice work? Researchers have found that positive memories activate positive emotion because “recalling happy memories elicits positive feelings and enhances one’s well being.”
Bad things happen to all of us, and we deserve time to mourn, grieve, and process our losses. However, living in constant negativity by focusing on the daily barrage of news or our past physical or emotional wounds may not help us.
I prefer happy thoughts.
Even without reading all the research, my experience supports that remembering happy moments makes a difference in my attitude, sleep, and stress levels. When the “blahs” start to take over, I pull up snippets of moments that make a grin uncontrollably appear.
One of my favorite activities occurs after a family meal. The moments between eating and clean-up become filled with, “do you remember when?” Those conversations create new happy memories as we recall the funny, absurd, and plain silly events of our lives.
I have taken thousands of photographs from black and white to color film and now digital. With my phone, a camera remains with me at all times making it easy to snap a memory. Who wouldn’t find they're happy looking at captured scenes of spaghetti faces, tickling fests, dancing through bubbles, and proud displays of Lego creations?
Every December, I create a calendar filled with photos from the previous year. I enjoy this annual project because I scroll through photographs and relive what matters most—the people who bring joy to my life.
Today’s challenge: Remember three happy moments that make you smile. Added bonus—write them down or share them to spread a little happiness.
Did you know garden walks spark joy and remembering?
I learned that there may actually be an art to happy memories.
I love happy songs, but the one that came to mind today is Billy Dean’s “Let Them Be Little.” After looking through all those photos of children and grandchildren, well, I can’t keep them little, but I can remember.
Allow yourself to smile just a tiny bit. Like revisiting a memory of happiness. Turn the corners of your mouth turn up a little and feel the muscles of your cheekbones slightly contracting.
—Jenny Clift, The Music Inside
Something about flowers spark memories. I love these spontaneous bold and beautiful flower connections.
—Patricia C. Gallagher, The Happy Flower Day Project
Find a little wonder this week and a happy memory.
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