Building a Foundation of Memories

Last week, I wrote about the summer and how it’s flying by. This weekend, everything I did reminded me of the classic phrase “time flies when you’re having fun.” While it might feel our lives are moving faster than we can handle, that can also mean we’re doing things we enjoy and are with people we love. And even though those feelings of enjoyment can be fleeting, being intentional about feeling them can actually go a long way toward long-term health and wellness.

If I’ve written it once I’ve written it a hundred times on this blog – I’m not good at journaling. I wish I was because I really enjoy it, but I’ve never been able to make a habit of it. However, even though it’s not something I do as much as I’d like, I still reap the benefits whenever I make the time (or have the memory skills) to journal. That’s because for me, writing out thoughts and feelings makes them real in a way that I don’t experience in other parts of my life.

There are many benefits to journaling (keep an eye out for a post later this week to learn more about that!), but this is the most important one for me. Over the years my depression and anxiety have created a selective memory, and it’s not all that positive. I have a tendency to filter out the good memories, and cognitive distortions can lead my brain to have an instinct to recall bad memories much quicker. But writing down these good memories directly challenges that.

By writing down my good moments and memories I’m directly challenging the notion that life is never good or every moment is awful, an instinctual thought I’ve been quick to lean on before. There’s also a sense of permanence I get when I see something written down on paper — but that could just be the writer in me.

Even if it’s only once in a while, I hope writing these moments down provides a solid foundation I can turn to in times of crisis. By providing solid evidence of positive moments, of feelings of joy and happiness, I can push back against the narrative my depression creates. I can quiet the voices of anxiety in my head. I can grow stronger as I aim to become as mentally healthy as possible. And I don’t need to make anything disappear in order to do that.

4 thoughts on “Building a Foundation of Memories

  1. mentallyillinamerica August 3, 2022 / 3:04 pm

    I think you’re onto something big. I read once that you should write down every compliment you ever had. To me, this all ties into writing affirmations (or variations of such). The point being (in my experience) to keep it real. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nathan Smith August 4, 2022 / 9:40 am

      Writing down compliments is a great idea, I want to try that! Definitely agree that it comes back to affirmations, which is something that I want to get better (and more consistent) at doing. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

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