Why Revisiting Positive Memories Can Be Good for Health
Do your friends joke that you or your loved one are living in the past? That’s not always a bad thing! Research actually shows it could be quite good for you. Revisiting happy memories appears to have several positive effects on health.
Scientists at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute tested the theory that recalling a positive memory can displace a negative feeling.
The study included introducing male mice to female mice, creating a positive memory for the male mice. The male mice where then removed from the female mice and exposed to a stressful situation that led to a depression-like state for the mice.
Finally, while the mice were depressed they were introduced to a special type of light that stimulates positive memories. Remembering happy memories resulted in a swift recovery from the depressive state.
While this study is still in its very early stages, it does provide a good indicator that revisiting positive memories is good for our overall health and wellbeing.
Creates Positive Emotions
Research also shows that people who retreat into the past when they’re having a rough day could wind up better off than those who try to push through by looking forward.
Scientists at the University of Liverpool were curious about this potential power of positive memories to create a healthier mental state, so they recruited a group of people to test a technique called social BMAC, or Broad-Minded Affective Coping.
BMAC involves guided mental imagery or recollection of positive memories in the attempt to create positive emotions. Guided mental imagery is a form of focused relaxation that helps create harmony between the mind and body. You or a loved one can practice this at home by simply engaging in meditation or deep breathing exercises while thinking of fond memories.
Those who practiced BMAC as part of the study experienced an increased feeling of safety, relaxation, warmth and social safeness despite having dealt with overwhelmingly negative feelings earlier in the day.
Adds Meaning to Life
According to researchers in Southampton, England, looking at the past with rose-colored glasses isn’t such a bad thing.
Nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they’re sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer.
At Caring Home Care, we can match you or your loved one with a certified caregiver to help relive the good times. By taking care of daily tasks, we can relieve any stress you or your loved one may experience and provide you with time you need to relax and focus on yourself. Learn more today!