Feelgood memories

by Ezra Hewing | 10 May 2024
Feelgood memories

We all know that physical activity is good for us. As well as keeping us physically healthy, being active is good for our mood too. But what can we do when the motivation to move is hard to find?

One resource which can help are feelgood memories. Feelgood memories are past experiences which carry positive emotions and feelings.

A feelgood memory could be the recalling the pleasure of a long walk on a summer’s day. It could a childhood memory of playing outdoor games with family or friends.

Feelgood memories could be the satisfaction which follows getting around to tidying up or having finally completed a house move.

Or a feelgood memory could be the pleasure of working on a patch in a garden, on an allotment, or watering houseplants.

What feelgood memories all have in common is the pleasure we feel when we remember them. And we can use feelgood memories to help us to shift negative moods, and to get into the right mood to move when we need some motivation.

Finding feelgood memories

To help us tap into feelgood memories, we can take some simple steps. The first is to collect memories of times when a healthy activity made us feel good.

These might be easy to remember, or they might need a little time. It can help to make a list of feelgood memories which you can add to as you remember more. Or perhaps you can keep notes which prompt feelgood memory in a ‘feelgood memories’ jar.

The next step is dwell on these feelgood memories, reimagining them and allowing the feelings to come flooding back.

An interesting thing about emotions and feelings is that the more we dwell on a particular mood, the more likely we are to recall memories which add to the mood. If we choose to dwell on feelgood memories, we may discover more that return to us long after we have forgotten them. We can add these to our feelgood memories list for when we need them in the future!

Imagine how we would like to feel

Finally, when the feelgood memories are taking affect, we can imagine how good we will feel once we begin an activity. This could be going for a swim, to the gym, having a stretch, going for a run, a walk, or doing some chair-based exercise.

And if there are barriers to doing an activity again, we can just imagine the first step, or doing something which is similar.

And once we’ve done that, we can add the achievement and the positive feelings to our feelgood memories.

by Ezra Hewing

Ezra is Head of Education at Suffolk Mind. Ezra also creates all of the workshop and courses at The Mental Health Toolkit and regularly delivers training.

“What I love about training from this approach is seeing people make the connection between the challenges they face and the emotional needs of the people they live and work with. I’ve lost count of how many people have told us that the approach helped them make sense of challenging situations at work and at home, and to take the next step towards finding a solution which met everyone’s needs.”

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