It’s the first time in my life that I’ve started emails and messages with the sentence “I hope this message finds you doing well, in good health, and staying sane.”
It’s, unfortunately, a greeting that sums up the current reality we are in. A reality in which we must look after our physical health as much as our mental health. I can’t help you much with maintaining your physical health, however; I can assist you a great deal with your mental well-being and it’s all tied to first times and new experiences.
Let me show you how to use first times and new experiences past, present, and future for your mental well-being. In Part I, I’m going to look at the benefits of reminiscing on past first times and experiences.
Five Benefits of Remembering Past First Times and Experiences
It’s way too easy right now to be anxious and fearful about what’s happening and what the future holds. That’s why taking time each day to go visit the past is a powerful thing to add to your routine and here are five reasons why.
Sharing and Preserving Your Existence
“A man’s most innate need is his need to be significant, to make a difference, to find purpose and meaning.” Author Patrick Morley
We have a deep desire to matter, belong, and be remembered. Sharing who we are, especially in a time of deep uncertainty, is crucial to us fueling our most basic needs of being known, understood, heard, and if it comes down to it, remembered.
Sharing stories of your first times and experiences with the people you love and care about is a beautiful way of not just connecting with them but also reassuring yourself that you will live on in their hearts and memories.
It’s also a lot of fun when someone shares with you how they remember certain events in your life and how those events played a part in their lives. The joys, recognition, acknowledgment, and bond this can create totally makes distance irrelevant.
Good and happy memories make us feel, well, good and happy. It’s always a positive thing to revisit your best memories, but even more so, if there is nothing in your current reality and present moment to be cheerful about. Reminiscing and recounting the fun, exciting, and meaningful first times and experiences from your life will lift your spirits and improve your mood.
Making the Connection From Your Past to Present
You are the sum of your experiences and reconnecting with your past experiences is an amazing way to remind yourself who you are, work through unresolved issues, find perspective, add meaning, and cope more maturely and efficiently with the present by better understanding who you are and your past.
Additionally, remembering the things that mattered to you in the past can lead to discovering new things to add to your life now.
Accessing and Exercising Your Stored Memories
In the vast majority of your day-to-day routine, you mainly use your working memory to go about your life. In order to get access to your stored memories and exercise the retrieval of your memories, you have to actively seek them out. Engaging in remembering first times and experiences of your life will create the need to recollect memories.
It’s possible you might initially find this difficult, especially if you don’t often think about the past, so the help of pictures and mementos might go a long way in assisting you and so does asking other people in your life. It’s always interesting to compare how people remember the same events.
Exercising your memory will help your memory because as it turns out, we’ve also gotten lazy about sending information to our memory; we rely on our devices to help us get access to what we need from a few keystrokes. This also doesn’t do much for our ability to focus and think.
Improving Your Communication Skills
Think about your normal, day-to-day conversations, what do they entail? What do you talk about? What topics do you cover? How often do you tell stories?
For most people, our conversations are work-related, task-driven, family-oriented, and/or gossip and drama focused.
Much like we don’t often tap into our stored memories, we also don’t often shift the language we use or the topics we talk about.
There is a reason why people call it the ‘art of storytelling’. It takes a bit of practice to be good at it, however, it’s something fun and easy to practice.
Have you ever noticed that when you do tell a story, the more you tell it, the better you get at it? Embellishing doesn’t count…just saying.
How to Get Started with Adding Past First Times and Experiences
I’ve started two initiatives to help you tap into in your past first times and experiences.
The First Time Storytelling Prompts
You can read the full post here. But in a nutshell, I’m releasing first time story prompts on the #365FirstsChallenge social media accounts for anyone and everyone to use in order to share first time stories either with their friends and family or with everyone. You could also just use the prompt to journal but I think sharing the story and who you are with others is crucial.
First Time Storytelling Live Facebook Broadcast
Every day at 9am PST I go live on the #365FirstsChallenge Facebook Page with a guest where he or she shares a first time story. Anyone can tune-in to listen to the stories and anyone can join me to share a story. Contact me to get more information.
In Part II, I will talk about how to use present and future first times and new experiences for your mental well-being.