Do you also like going through photos of your past happy events in order to savor the sun-soaked joy of the time spent together with loved ones, and to flood ourselves with a feeling of warmth? Every picture has a story to tell….
Cliché? I don’t think so. Our memories are the greatest joy of life, especially happy memories! They are vivid and heart-warming. Because we tend to take photos of happy occasions, they bias our memories to the positive. Snapshots are good memory-triggers. They prompt us to retrieve so called autobiographical memory, that is a memory from our own past. People, scents, and sounds are also able to rekindle emotions captured during the original experience.
As it turns out, savoring positive memories not only make us happier, they are the best medicines for our mind and body. Positive memories have the capacity to evoke powerful emotions. Reflecting on the significant moments in our lives cultivates optimism, alleviates negativity, bolsters a sense of self identity, attenuates hopeless “I can’t” thoughts, and even is able to reduce anxiety. Reminiscing about happy past events serves as a proactive emotion regulation strategy, which in turn may promote successful adaptation to stress – i.e. resilience.
Dwelling on happy memories can cure the symptoms of depression. Remembering positive life events is associated with activity in the striatum and medial prefrontal cortex. The activity of these reward-related brain regions is impaired in people with depression.
Moreover, recalling and appreciating our happy moments may cause the release of the “feel-good chemical” (called Dopamine). Recently published study further shows that recalling positive emotional memories might has a buffering effect on emotional and hormonal stress reactivity in response to stressful life events.
These results together suggest that tapping into a positive past memories may promote mental health and build resilience in the face of stress and reduce vulnerability to depression.
Apparently, sometimes it can be useful to return to the past. Not in order to change anything, rather to experience something once again. Events that make us smile no matter what’s going on in life right now. We all have a time-machine inside: to travel back we can use memories, dreams take us forward. Let’s exchange our dreams into our happy memories and enjoy them! We can benefit from their incredible healing power.
“Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.”Oscar Wilde
Since “Memory is the diary”, lets write on the good ones and let the others behind!