How can we harness the power of memory to support us?
Workplace Wellbeing Trainer, Jo Flack explains how you can harness the power of your memory to support yourself during the current pandemic.
I wonder what we will recall when we look back on this time. Will we remember the mass hoarding of toilet rolls? Will we remember the worry and concern for the health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones? Will we remember applauding the work of front-line staff each week with our neighbours? Or are we a member of front-line staff who will remember the challenges we faced? Of course the truth is that we will all come out of this with a wide range of memories associated with this situation, some happy and some sad; memories that are laden with a whole range of emotions.
Certainly some memories are painful to recall, but the ability to draw upon and develop long term memory patterns is a key resource in supporting us to stay well. For without access to our memories, we cannot develop or learn. Memory allows us to draw upon our experiences to help us get our physical and emotional needs met.
The importance of long-term memory and its role in meeting our emotional needs was bought into focus very clearly to me when my mum was diagnosed with Dementia last year. With the deterioration of her memory, it is incredibly challenging for her to stay emotionally well. With a decline in the memory resource comes a rise in anxiety.
So, when our memory is working well and is used in tandem with our conscious rational mind it can help us to meet our needs well, increase our ability to cope and decrease our worry.
How then can we harness the power of memory to support us in the current situation? Here are some suggestions:
- Spend some time recalling when you have managed to remain positive in the face of adversity in the past – and what you did to help this happen.
- Remember that this will pass.
- Draw on your past memories to help plan, problem solve and mentally try out positive outcomes for the future.
- Recall to mind hobbies and interests you once had that you may now have the time to take up again.
- Keep your brain active by learning a new hobby.
- Write a daily journal to remind yourself of positive things that have come out of this challenging experience.
- Help to create good memories for yourself and others by keeping in touch with people who are important to you.
- And finally, remind yourself that that you are doing the best you can in these unusual and unprecedented times.
Author: Ellie Winch