Remembering a positive, happy past experience increases happiness. I guess it’s not that surprising. It makes total sense. If you spend more time focusing on happy things you are going to experience happy emotions. Just like the exercise in visualisation last week, this process is about using the mind to change emotions.
There is extensive research from the area of Positive Psychology (The study of Happiness and Well-being) into the process of reminiscing and its ability to increase positive emotions. But regardless of research, I can vouch for the fact that it really does work.
Give it a try
It’s best done shared with others because this can also increase a social connection.
Ring, text, email or meet someone in person and recall a positive event you shared in your past together and relive it. Enjoy it all over again!
It can be something from just last week or something from your childhood. It doesn’t matter.
A classic reminisce that my sister and I get into, is recalling watching Neighbours as kids. We laugh about storylines or names of characters that we seem to pull from nowhere! In itself, it is meaningless to recall a TV show, but the process leads to positive emotions and a greater social connection between us. All in all, a very positive experience.
Facebook has also become quite active in encouraging reminiscing. If you are active on Facebook you will know that every now and then a little message appears at the top of your newsfeed saying ‘2 Years Ago…’, or 'last year...' with links to photos or status updates that happened. You can choose to share these on your wall or in a private message. One popped up just the other day of a friend who has now moved down to Devon and it was of us out kayaking on a crisp winters day 7 years ago! It was such a lovely jolt of my memory, I sent the photo to her in a private message just so she knew I was thinking of her and she was able to share in the happy memory.
Take a moment today, or sometime this week to reminisce with a friend, colleague or loved one.
Share them in the comments below or come over to my Facebook page and comment there
Clare Martin is a the founder of the Positive Teacher Network who specialises in helping teachers to find the ultimate Work Life Balance and supports them with many of the difficulties teachers face today.
The Positive Teacher Network provides practical tips and strategies to busy, tired teachers to help them improve their lives allowing them to focus on being great teachers.