How To Make Positive Memories
Did you know that you can boost your positivity just by memorizing positive words? Discover this positive thinking strategy and learn how to do it in your life.
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I did a study a few years ago where we asked people to spend about 10 minutes memorizing positive words. They did it again for homework one more time that week. In the end, they showed small but notable improvements in well-being.
Why? Well, research suggests it might be because the stronger the connections you build in your brain for positive information, the easier it is for your brain to use that information in daily life.
So, it seems that you can actually train the part of your brain responsible for positive memories. When you train this part of your brain, you make positivity more available, accessible, and easily activated. And with enough practice, you get better at remembering the good stuff (just be sure not to practice remembering the bad stuff).
How Do You Make Positive Memories?
It might seem silly, but it can help to memorize positive words. This act of memorizing positive words forces your brain to activate the regions of your brain associated with these words (i.e., the positive brain regions). When any region of the brain is activated, it gets stronger. So memorizing positive words can make positive concepts, memories, and ideas more accessible and easily activated in your brain. So when you try to think positive about something in your real life, your brain will likely have an easier time.
Not sure which words are positive? Psychologists have measured the emotional content of tons of words to determine how positive and negative they are. You can try to create your own list or get our positive word flashcard book.
There are lots of ways to build strong positive neural networks using these positive words. For example, you could memorize five positive words and set an alarm that reminds you to recall these words, in reverse order, later that day.
Or, you could print out positive words (or use the flashcard book), cut each word into 2 pieces, shuffle them all together and then match them back up. For example, the word "laughter" would be cut into "laug" and "hter". Then match the word pieces so your brain has to not only retrieve the word laughter, but your brain also has to search through lots of other positive information in your memory to find the word it's looking for.
These positive memory activities are a great place to start because they are easy, fun, simple, fast, and they can help develop your brain in ways that may make it easier to think positive in other ways.
About Dr. Tchiki Davis
Dr. Davis is founder of The Berkeley Well-Being Institute. After getting her PhD in psychology at Berkeley, she started creating online content & programs to boost well-being—some of these have reached more than a million people. As author of Outsmart Your Smartphone, and contributor to Psychology Today, The Greater Good Science Center, and Shine Text, Dr. Davis aims to share her insights on happiness & health with people all across the world. Learn more about Dr. Davis.