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Fill Your Mind with Beautiful Memories

A new study reveals that life really does flash before your eyes before you die.  It doesn’t happen exactly like in the movies.

It’s not necessarily chronological and may be from different perspectives. But it really does happen.  Scientists are calling the phenomenon LRE – Life Review Experience.

Stick with me here…this is going to a good happy place, I promise.

What if you could feel that much love, passion, empathy and desire not just to live but to LIVE BIG every day?

What if you get to choose what’s showing on the omnimax screen inside your head?

What if you could choose how vivid and how joyous your internal movie reel is. Not just for from an LRE perspective, but what’s going on in your head every day.

What if what you choose could actually help you feel more joy and empathy?

YOU CAN CHOOSE!

This isn’t proven, but putting a few pieces together, I think I’m on to something here. And if there are studies out there on establishing beautiful and positive memories or other evidence that you’re aware of (positive or contradictory) – by all means – please share it!

How it works

  1. Recognize and focus on beautiful moments in your everyday life
  2. Mentally record memories of beautiful moments using contextual ques

 

RECOGNIZING BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE

This is where you have to live in the present and pay attention.

If you are open to changing your mood, attuned to recognizing wonderful experiences and snippets of time…

If you are practiced in capturing the essence of a moment using imagery and sensations…

all amid ordinary days…

you will surprise yourself with how many beautiful moments there are each day.

Then you just have to be willing to spend more time on those memories than the more mundane or negative ones.

You could be having a totally crappy day (figuratively or literally – sorry to go there – I live with two toddlers) and you just have to be open to a little break in the storm and focus on those splendid moments.

*****

Here’s a real-life example.

It was an overall cranky Saturday in our house. For whatever unknown reason, our boys woke up on the wrong side of the bed so to speak.  I could have chosen to remember that day as an awful gray mess.

But that day we got two new twin mattresses delivered for the boys’ big boy room.

As the mattresses were carried in, two little soft-cheeked faces lit up. It was as if they intuitively knew that these were their very own mountains to climb and trampolines to jump on.

I remember watching them. I could feel the wonder and excitement radiating from them.

Freshly washed sheets and blue and white rugby striped duvets, smelling of Dreft, were quickly cast onto the floor in a heap. The instant the mattresses were placed onto the bedframes, the boys climbed up, barely able to lift their legs, striving to pull up the weight of this little bodies with their arms gripped to the top seams with all their might.

Then giggles ensued. Laughter echoing throughout the room and traveled down the hallway and down the stairs, filling our whole home with warmth and love.  Their eyes were bright and their cheeks were rosy.

As they found their legs on the springy surface, they took more risks, adding tumbles and rolls between giggles. My little monkeys.

*****

As you can see this is an ordinary moment transformed into something beautiful.

This snippet of the day couldn’t have lasted more than 5, 10 minutes tops, yet it provides joy over and over again as I mentally relive it.

These kinds of things happen every day.

Especially when you around those experiencing childlike wonder.

Do you take the time to notice these snippets?

 

MENTALLY RECORDING MEMORIES USING VIVID DETAILS

During and after those beautiful moments there are several ways to soak up and remember the beautiful moments in your life

  • Give your full attention to the moment, focusing on all of the senses. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and feel?
  • Say to yourself, “I am always going to remember this” as you are experiencing something awe inspiring.
  • Share the story of the moment with someone. This is as simple as retelling it to your child later that day or sharing it with a spouse or even a pet.
  • Write about the event and include contextual details such as descriptions of smells or music.

Think gratitude journal on steroids. But if can be in your head or on paper.  You can do this anywhere.

This is less about more data or taking notes and more about really sensing what is going on around you.

 

WHY DOES THIS WORK?

Like I said, it’s not proven that you can just fill up your mind with beautiful memories. But here’s how I see it linking together.

Your Perception is Your Reality: Several studies have linked gratitude and positive perception of life events to increased joy and happiness.  That’s right – your perception (which you can choose to make positive) is linked to joy, not what has actually happened to you in your life.

Storytelling: Memories are like short stories.  People relate to stories.  People are more likely to remember stories, especially those that include other people.  Listening to, reading or reliving stories or memories often cause your brain to release oxytocin and dopamine in your brain.  These hormones result in more bonding with others, higher levels of empathy, mood enhancement, pleasure, motivation and help with learning and working toward rewards.

 

What pieces did I put together that gave me this idea of building up a curated collection of beautiful memories?

The idea of creating a repository of wonderful things from life – things that help me express gratitude and experience joy came from two very different places.

First, that mattress delivery man – was my dad doing us a huge favor, picking up and dropping off the mattresses that we bought for a great price at a furniture store that was relocating.

And he had the wisdom to acknowledge the memory of the boys’ excitement and then he graciously snuck out….so we could enjoy the special moment.

Then, a few months later, I read an interview with former Google exec, Mo Gawdat, who was searching for happiness for many years and finally found it in the wake of tragedy. Something he said during the interview really struck a cord,

“Happiness is about filling your mind with beautiful memories, and finding reasons to be truly thankful, despite the pain life can bring…Happiness is not about what the world gives you…It’s about what you think about what the world gives you.”

And then I went into action – trying to connect the dots – to figure out how you could actually fill your mind with beautiful memories.

And here we are…

 

PUTTING A BOW ON IT

When it’s almost all said and done – how will you see your life story?

How much gratitude, empathy and joy do you want to feel along the way?

If yours answers include some version of,

“I will watch the best, most joyous version of my life.”

And “I want to experience an overwhelming amount of gratitude, empathy and joy throughout the journey.”

Start by filling your mind with beautiful memories.

Recognize and focus on the beautiful moments that are part of everyday life.

Really live in them and experience them with all of your senses.

Create mental images or written narratives of those precious moments, highlighting sensory details and share your beautiful stories.

Life is beautiful.

 

 

Curious and want to read more?

Just for you, here are some outside sources on the topics covered today:

LRE Study

Interview with Mo Gawdat

How to remember the past

Oxytocin

Dopamine

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