Stress and anxiety can leave lasting effects on our body; hurtful events and traumatic experiences leave lasting imprints on both the body and the mind.
Making connections creates joyful memories that we can then relive to retrieve those feelings of happiness and joy any time we want. What better way to heal than by making connections and joy with those you love to create lasting and joyful memories?
But how do we make lasting joyful memories that “stick”?
Foster connections with yourself and your loved ones. Think back to the things that have brought you the most joy in life: Were there other people involved? Most likely yes. The need for social connection is hardwired into our brains from the time we are born. Research shows that we do better physically and mentally when we have human contact; social connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and actually improve our immune systems. By neglecting our need to connect, we put our health at risk.
How do you foster connection and make long-lasting memories while doing it?
Want to remember a specific event or experience? Create a memory road map by incorporating all 5 senses into the experience. Ever notice that certain smells remind you of a particular person or event? This is because sensory information plays strongly into your long-term memory.
With this in mind, plan your experience of connection with intention by using these sensory mindfulness tips ⬇️
Stop and really take in what you are seeing. Look beyond the “big picture” and notice the tiny details of where you are and who you are with. This will be even easier if you are experiencing something new.
Take a page from the book of Hygge and try and listen to the small sounds that may normally get lost. What music is playing? What kind of background noises are around? If you're looking to create a romantic atmosphere, choose a new but romantic ballad to play during your experience. Then whenever you listen to this song, you will be transported back to this joyful memory.
Notice how everything feels. Is it hot out? Or is there a cool breeze? Maybe you go out of your way to take your kids to a petting zoo and feel the soft fur of a llama for the first time or the rough caress of their tongue as you feed them. Or head on over to a touch tank and feel something slimy. I guarantee this will leave a lasting impression in both you and your kid’s mind
Our sense of smell can evoke some of the strongest memories. Maybe you take time to stop and smell the flowers, or the tropical sea breeze, your lover's perfume or freshly cut grass. Incorporating smells into your experience will make them so much more vivid (just like grandma’s cookies!)
Try something new. This is probably one of the easiest thoughts you can do to create a lasting memory. Try a new recipe, plan a picnic in the park or let your dinner date order for you. Think of your favourite comfort food and really examine why it brings you comfort. Was it a favorite family recipe? Does it remind you of a special occasion? When planning a vacation or the perfect summer day think about what feeling you want to create and scout out some eateries ahead of time. Be sure to really savour your food while you eat it as well to take in all the flavours!
Another tip for making memories that last?
Try something New!
From birth into our 20s, we experience many firsts in our lives. You likely have some very tangible memories to go along with these firsts. This makes sense because we remember the first time we do something more than the 100th time we do something (unless something out of the ordinary happens).
In our 30s and onward, we tend to settle into a routine of work, home, eat, sleep, repeat that keeps us firmly rooted in our comfort zone.
Trying something new, especially with your loved ones, is one of the best ways to make connections and guarantee you will remember the experience later in life.