How to Use Good Memories to Feel Better

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How to Use Good Memories to Feel Better

By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Photo: freestocks-photos

Relationships can be a great comfort when you’re going through emotional pain. While just having those connections can feel supportive, the relationships in your life hold even greater healing power when you consciously reflect on them. By tapping into your good memories of meaningful relationships, you can ground yourself in positive feelings that will help you to cope better with life’s struggles.

One effective way is to do this is to create reminders of the connections you’ve had in life and to consciously bring your attention to those relationships. You might create a favorites photo album on your phone of important people in your life – past and present. By looking at these pictures, you can bring back the feeling of connection, creating a lifeline to pull yourself out of your emotional hole.

Another option is to create a special memory box by doing the following:

Find or make a special box. Just as you would not toss valuable jewelry into any old shoebox you have lying around, you do not want to do the same with your precious memories. Instead, find a beautiful box. Or, if you are creatively inclined, decorate a cardboard or plain wood box (you can purchase one in a craft store). What is most important is that you use a box worthy of holding your precious memories.

Reflect on important connections in your life. Write a list of people who have been supportive of and encouraging to you. These can be people who were in your life for a long or brief time, from childhood through to today.

Choose one person and find at least one souvenir of your relationship with them.Think back on the times you’ve shared. Reflect on the feelings of being connected and cared about. Then choose at least one souvenir from your time together. This could be a picture, ticket from an event you attended together, or anything else that reminds you of that person. Hold the item, allow yourself to feel the warmth that relationship brings, and then place it in your box.

Repeat the process of finding a souvenir for each person on your list. As you continue through this exercise, you might think of more people to add to the list. Simply add their names as you go.

Place your box in an easily accessible place. You may want to place your box in the privacy of your bedroom or out in your living room. Wherever you put it, remember that the purpose of having the box is for you to “visit” it as frequently as you want or need.

Keep in mind that this is not just any memory box. It is filled with the love, support, and encouragement of important relationships. So, not only will it feel good as you look through it and reminisce, but it will also provide you a sense of connection. You will feel less alone and more supported. This relationships memory box can be your portal to an inner place where you feel held in the warm embrace of a community of special people in your life.

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