Recently I found myself facing a hard dull task for which I had no enthusiasm. During one of my distracted periods and while I was procrastinating and avoiding the task, I happened to be staring out a window at the falling snow and I remembered sledding with the neighborhood kids in this kind of weather. I remembered a particular event that I used to do on many occations and what it felt like.
The thrill of the fast ride down the hill was so overwhelmingly thrilling that the thought of pulling the sled back up the hill was never any concern at all. I never heard any of my friends complain about it either. Of course it was no problem to do it over and over, all day.
The memory was so strong I closed my eyes and pictured myself sliding down the hill, inches from the snow and ice, bouncing and scraping. My memory was so good, or I had done it so much I really felt like I was reliving it.
Then I realized that’s what feeling old was all about. There were very few thrills anymore. What little thrill there is cannot overcome all the dull drudgery. My life was consumed with avoiding this little pain, or that drudgery, and there was little fun anymore. As I thought more about my memories I couldn’t help but smile to myself, and I felt happier. I turned away from my musings and finished that unpleasant task, and this article in the next half hour.
This little technique goes in my toolbox from now on. Goodbye depression, goodbye writers block.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s more complicated than just remembering the past, you have to think about happy memories in detail, and not just remember them. You have to recreate them in your mind as thoroughly as if you had just experienced them. You must think about something hard enough to remember every minute detail then relive it and enjoy it again, until you smile. That’s the key. That’s when I think you’re producing endorphins.
File this one under – Make your self feel good. Or, Just what the heck do you think your memories are for anyway?
OK Here’s the procedure; I have done this several times with great success.
First think of a happy memory, truly happy not just pleasant. Perhaps from a time when you didn’t have a care in the world.
Then remember all the details, take some time with this, it’s important because the details add to your ability to re-experience of the memory.
Close your eyes, picture the memory, relive it. Who was with you, what did they say or do.
Then do it again, and again.
If you find yourself smiling, you’ve done it. Think about it some more, enjoy it for a while.
There is a cumulative effect to this, the more you can do this the stronger the effect and the longer it lasts. This is not simple nostalgia, but more like hypnotic regression therapy without the hypnosis. Or the fees.
Enjoyed your article. Good ideas on staying focused on the positive. You mentioned aging. I heard a GREAT quote the other day. 60 is the new 40. I LOVE that. So in my mind I'm 39 and am 20 years younger than my calender years. I look forward to reading more of your posts.
Point 1 - you should make this a Hub.
Point 2 - rather than relying on memories to make you happy, couldn't you do something in your current life to cheer yourself up?
I dance. I can't tell you the number of times that I've thought
"I'm getting too old to go to dance class" - but if I make myself go, I come out at the end wreathed in smiles. There must be something you could get out and do that would have the same effect.
I agree with Points 1 and 2. A Hub would be good.
I do small things to brighten my mood - make sure there's fresh air coming in the windows, have fresh flowers (or at least some pretty dried ones) on the table, melt potpourri tarts and scent the house, listen to music, make a great pot of coffee or cup of tea (or go out for one, either alone or with someone), have the right lighting (or sunlight), etc. The small-but-nice things add up. (The other day a friend washed his hands in my kitchen sink, and he used a particularly fresh smelling hand soap I have there. He said, "I really like the smell of that. It's funny how some smells kind of give you a boost." Something as minor as that can make people feel just a teensy bit "boosted".
Agreed. I don't think some people actually know the difference between a forum post and a hub, it seems. It's actually quite common.
love your article and remember if you don't love yourself don't expect anyone to do it for you.
The process of remembering happy times is very powerful especially when you do it over and over again.
I think this is the same principle that life gurus like Tony Robbins teach people to visualise success over and over until the totally let go of all their fears and feel they can achieve anything that they set out to do.
I have both happy and not so happy childhood memories. Somehow, I remember both vividly. I guess it also helps to be detail and have a very vivid imagination. I have been fortunate enough to have played the piano from a very young age. My connection to my "happy" childhood times are the pieces that I used to play when I was 5 or 6 although I play them a little differently now. You are right that it always brings a smile (sometimes a tear or two) and sometimes it just takes me back to where I was before. I guess my experience is very different because I cannot separate both feelings when I play, I just get into a dreamy world that can suddenly becomes very clear or blurry all at the same time. On balance, it is extremely invigorating and therapeutic. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
I heard this very same message off some guy selling something on TV Hmmmm...thought it sounded familiar ,because I actually tried it...
Be careful this is not someone elses idea before you write it as your idea.
For me, if I'm not happy it kind of makes it worse to think of times when I've been happy - kind of like rubbing it in that I'm not happy at the moment. I like to think of the happy times when I'm happy or neutral but think of my immediate need to brighten my day when I'm not happy.
hmmm, relying on happy memories to cause happiness in the present seems rather sad. memories are nice when they pop into your conscious and give you a smile or perk your mood, but I agree that you have to get out and make new memories, enjoy the simple things, dance, draw,exercise daily, go out and make a friend, do something for someone else. happy people are generally very active or content with their creative pursuits and activities, taking time to get out of their inner world and be with others.
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