Great challenge for March. Let’s share memories. Recalling positive memories makes us feel good. In fact, the impact on our brains is similar to the experience itself. Recalling positive memories stimulates the brain to release serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is linked to feelings of happiness. You may know that chocolate (as well as dates, bananas and other foods containing tryptophan) is one of the foods linked to the making of serotonin … though chocaholics might be disappointed to know it’s not quite as straightforward as ‘the more chocolate you eat, the happier you are’.
How many of us make a point of noting the good things that happen daily? Often we dwell on the mistakes we’ve made, the challenging conversations, or the difficult encounters. No wonder we can sometimes feel as though the job is tough and we’re never enough. We hang on to bad memories much more easily than good ones, because in evolutionary terms they were there to ensure our survival. Memories of things which threaten our survival help us to avoid putting ourselves in harm’s way in the future (which, incidentally, is why it’s hard to approach with an open mind someone who has caused us hurt in the past). Fear kept our ancestors safe.
One of the things that undermines our resilience is the sense of powerlessness: that we can’t affect what’s going on around us. Here’s my challenge for #MemoryMarch: every day write down something positive that happened today which you had a hand in: a student who thanked you; a light-bulb moment for a child in your class; a grateful parent; a difficult meeting handled well.
At the end of the week review your list and remind yourself that every day, you make a difference.