IN AN EXPERIMENT at the University of Georgia,
students were asked to remember a pleasant outdoor experience
theyd had recently.
Afterwards, they filled out a questionnaire
rating their feelings of tension, relaxation and alertness.
Later the students experienced meditation
by listening to recorded instructions with their eyes closed.
Again, afterwards they filled out the questionnaire.
The verdict? Recalling a pleasant memory
improved their concentration and lessened their anxiety better
And recalling pleasant memories strengthens
those memories. It makes those memories more real and easier
to recall. Every event you experience in your life makes a pathway
in your brain a pattern of connections between neurons.
But the pathway is weak. If you never recall that event again,
your memory of it becomes weaker as time goes on until it becomes
almost impossible to remember what happened, even if the experience
was emotionally significant.
Some people are unhappy only because they
dont remember the good times. Researchers find that depressed
people have as many nice experiences as everyone else, but they
dont remember them as well. Theyve gotten
into the habit of reminiscing about the negative experiences,
so those seem numerous and vivid, and they let all the
positive experiences fade into the past. So it seems to them
that life is tragic and filled with loss and misery.
Make it a point to recall your good times.
Think about them now and then. Reminisce with your spouse or
a friend or one of your children. Reminisce in letters to friends
and relatives. They want to hear about your good times, anyway
especially recent good times so let yourself go.
Writing about them will strengthen your memories. When you look
back on your life, itll be easier to see the beauty of
it, and your life in the present will feel richer.
Think back over the last couple of weeks
and try to recall the small pleasures: the tiny victories, the
little moments of kindness and love, the gentle feelings of satisfaction.
Feel free to recall the big ones too, but you have a lot more
small ones, and youll probably be surprised to realize
how many you have.
Reminisce about special times of your life:
moments of love, of awakening, of turning points, of great insight.
Remember the events that help give life meaning. Remember the
times that have shaped your life, or that you want to
shape your life. You have had special moments when you saw how
wonderful life could be or when you gained some unusual insight.
If nothing more is done with those, the memory of them and the
power of the insights can fade. Remember those moments. Remember
what they meant. Remember what they could mean and your
memory will help make it so.
Reminisce about the good times and the
special times. Strengthen those memories. Store them up. They
are your true riches.
Reminisce about the best times.