Friday, 30 October 2015

The Importance Of Our Memories

Each and every one of us have a bundle of memories, and we continue to build and create new memories all the time.

These memories, both the good and the bad are so important; they make us who we are and without them we may feel uncertain, or lost with who we are and so on. 

When going through the toughest of times, a way to cope and manage such times is by remembering back to when we've had good moments. Sometimes we forget that good moments and memories don't have to be super impressive experiences we may have had, but can just be the little things that give us a spark of joy. 

With the memories we find difficult to think about, and perhaps for some these feel impossible to even start to speculate. These memories have built us to be who we are, right here, right now. The more difficult memories will have made us stronger, even if it doesn't seem so at the time. 

Coming out of the bad times and conquering through the difficult will inevitably change the way we see things and ensuring that the bad, unhelpful, distressing memories help us grow stronger can be difficult, but can be accomplished; and once we've learnt to do so is a great coping mechanism to help getting through hard times in the future.

Remembering our good memories is so incredibly important; having these to look back on is a very precious thing in life and sadly for many isn't as easy as it should be. 

There are certain ways to make sure we remind ourselves of the good. A way I've learnt to do so is by writing in a journal; each day I write about the experiences I've had during that day - some days I write a few lines, some days a few pages. When I started I made the decision that it didn't matter how much I wrote, just as long as I write each day. 

I can then use this journal to look back on; to look at what things I've accomplished and what challenges I've faced. I haven't been writing in a journal for that long, having started when I came to the US, but I've found it has helped me in so many ways that I know I'll continue it for many years to come. 

There are many other ways we can remind ourselves of the good times, a simple one is to write down a list of things we love, have enjoyed, still enjoy and so on. Another which I can say is truly wonderful, is writing a blog! Writing this blog helps me more than I could have ever hoped to imagine; I love having this place to write about my experiences, and not only for myself, but sharing them with those that read it too.

Similar to blogging and a way many of us do any way, is through taking photos and adding them to a photo album to hand or on a computer and having these photos to look at is a great way of cheering us up when we've had a bad day or find ourselves in a low mood.

Below...my journal - to write about my day; my camera - to capture those very important memories, and my laptop - to write my blog and to view my photos.



Another way I feel I must mention is through meditation and yoga, I know I've written quite a lot about both these practices, but I have found them to be so helpful in many aspects, including reminding myself of my memories. 

With these two practices, normally, at the beginning of a class the teacher will set an intention for that day (if doing your practice outside of a class, you can also set your own intention). This intention you or your teacher can set can be to focus your practice on reminding yourself of your memories.

To go further into explaining a bit more about the importance of our memories, I thought this post felt like the right time to open up a little; so those reading can fully understand why I feel our memories are so precious - be it the good or the bad. 

So here goes. 

Through the battles with my illness; when I was most poorly, there was a time when my cognitive memory process stopped working properly; because of this I was unable to contain much new information. As well as my short term memory being extremely poor, I found it very difficult to remember memories from my past, such as the Summer of the year before, or even main events and experiences from my past such as holidays, Birthdays and so on.

This was a very scary time and although I could remember people who were very close to me such as my Mum, Dad and my sister, there wasn't a lot else I could process. Luckily once I was strong enough for my cognitive memory to work and through my recovery I've regained those memories I lost but to picture that period of time is difficult. Its hard for me to completely explain as I don’t fully understand it myself, but hopefully you’ll understand enough to get the gist of it.

Something that really helped me once I was strong enough to process memories again was having family remind me of the great, lovely, wonderful and fun times. Being reminded of these kept me smiling when I felt very down.

This time shows an example of my past that I’d now perhaps ironically like to forget. However, I need to be reminded of this time once in a while - to keep me determined, to remind myself of how lucky I am to have pulled through; to remind myself to keep on fighting, to keep battling, to never give up. This is also a prime example of how this memory of mine, the horrible memory that it is. However horrible, no matter how much I wish such a time had never happened, I have to accept that it did. I have to acknowledge it so I can see how I am now so much stronger because of it. I am so lucky to be here, today and I will continue to conquer my battles. 

So, now you may ask…why have I written this post? Why have I opened up about something so personal? What is there for you to take away from this?

I firstly want to thank you for reading this far, as I know its been a long post! For you lovely people - remind yourself of the good times, those great memories…be it something so simple such as reading in the evenings, relaxing in your garden on Sundays; or something of a great experience such as a Birthday or a holiday and so on. We all have them, we do. It may be harder for some than others to pinpoint exactly the things that have made them feel positive in one way or another, but I can assure you it is so worth it once you can remind yourself of these moments. 

What ever you may take from this post; have faith in yourself - remind yourself of the good times, especially when going through the tough; just know and believe that these tough times will help make you stronger.

Maybe now is your chance to try something new…perhaps that might be to start writing a journal? Or, if not a journal, simply writing a list of the things you love, cherish and enjoy. Or, have I even persuaded you to try meditation or yoga? What ever it may be - go for it! Take the chance - believe.

Thank you for reading, all my love x