I heard recently that when we learn, it’s not by hearing about something, or even doing something. We learn (and remember) by reflecting on what we did and recognizing what we learned. It’s so easy to remember the negative things that happen in our life because we often ruminate on how bad it made us feel. But why don’t we make an effort to remember the positive and joyful moments in our life?
I’ve set out to help you learn some easy ways to keep those joyful moments in mind. My hope is that I help you create a more joyful life! So, here are 13 easy ways we can remember the joyful moments!
I am so excited to have Sam on the blog today guest posting! Me and Sam have recently connected and I am so glad we did. I love her blog and the content she focuses on. Its all so positive and thats one of the reasons why I asked her to guest post on the blog. I hope you enjoy the post! Olivia
Just stop for a few moments to reflect on what you just experienced and how you felt about it. Often we remember how something made us feel rather than the actual details of the experience. Stop what you’re doing for a moment and think, “Mmmm, that ice cream was so delicious. I felt grateful eating it because there are people who try out making new flavors of ice cream for me to enjoy!”
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BE MINDFUL WITH IT
When we use mindfulness to create a memory, it’s called encoding! Take time to notice what you see, hear, physically feel, even smell. First of all, this helps us bring awareness to the moment we are in. Not surprisingly, being more aware of the moment helps us remember it better! And we remember even better when we attach meaning or factual knowledge to the moment. Notice the bright pink flowers blooming on the trees, even go up close and notice the little details. Touch the petals and see how they feel. Smell the flowers. Think, “this is what spring feels like.”
LEAVE ROOM FOR IT
Personally, sometimes it feels like my brain has a million things swirling around that I’m trying to remember. It significantly helps when I write down the things I want to remember for another time. Then I have more room for what I’m trying to focus on at that moment and don’t feel as distracted. Keep a note in your phone with to-do things you want to remember, or write them in a planner.
When you’re trying to remember that you have to pick up peanut butter from the store, you were supposed to email someone about your insurance, and you need to come up with a birthday present for your mom, but you have some friends coming over for a game night in a few minutes… Write those first three things down so you don’t have to worry about forgetting them. Then your mind will be more free to focus on the fun you’re about to have.
Journal about your joyful moment to remember it better. Writing by hand works even better for memory because your hand is physically writing out the words, and that action helps your body remember better. You could keep a normal journal with your thoughts and feelings or have a focused journal for just “the joyful moments”.
Personally, I keep a gratitude journal and write three things I was grateful for that day. It helps me think of the joyful moments I had and reflect on the good about the day, even on a not-so-good day.
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MAKE A CONTAINER FOR IT
Make a gratitude jar or box of moments. Cut up some pieces of paper, decorate a box or empty jar, and put it somewhere you’ll see it often! It can be nice to have separated pieces of paper to randomly pull out and remember a great time. Instead of flipping through a book, it’s satisfying to see what you find by chance.
I made my own gratitude jar a few months ago, you can watch how I did it here! I only used a cleaned out peanut butter jar, a piece of printer paper, fine tip markers, and tape!
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MAKE ART ABOUT IT
If you’re a creative person, making art is an awesome way to remember a joyful moment! Whether it’s drawing, painting, writing a poem, even writing a song, the process of making art gives you more time to think about the details of the joyful moment and how it made you feel!
I like to paint, so if I saw a really beautiful sunset, I might go home and use watercolors to try to get the sky, clouds, and tree line to look just like the one I saw in person. I give myself grace when I can’t get things perfect though.
Of course a picture is with a thousand words! Well, maybe not all pictures… But taking a picture of a beautiful moment gives you something to look back on and actually see some of the details of the moment. Of course our phones are great for this, but you can use a fancy camera if you wish. Same goes for video recording a moment!
Pictured below is my husband and I rock climbing on our honeymoon in Acadia National Park, Maine! We had our instructor take our picture, and I also have selfies, pictures of each other, and of course the beautiful landscape! I am so happy I have pictures from that fun time.
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Posting on social media can be a great way to remember a joyful moment. If you take the time to write a fun or meaningful caption on a photo, you’ll remember it even better! Sometimes outlets like Facebook or Google photos show you “memories” from that day however many years ago. That can be nice, but also make you remember embarrassing times in high school lol. Anyone remember Timehop??
A great memory I recently saw was during my music therapy internship! Aidan, my fiance at the time, came to visit, and we visited Annapolis, Maryland with my co-intern and her boyfriend!
Say your joyful moment out loud to yourself, multiple times! Saying something out loud rather than just in our mind reinforces it. It gives a second source of input for our brain – mentally and audibly. Along with that, we are more likely to remember something when we repeat it. Repeating an action or thought strengthens that connection between our brain cells. Even better if you space out the repetition a bit; say it to yourself right after it happens, an hour later, then at the end of the day.
My niece turned one recently! So I can tell myself out loud a little story: “Zoe turned one! I can’t believe how fast that year went. We went to her birthday party and she was a little unsure at first because it was the most people she has ever been around! Thanks Covid. There were mini taco piñatas and we sang to her in English and Spanish. I also made her a cake.”
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When we explain something to someone else, it is more likely to stick in our brain. We get to experience it all over again but with another person there to share the joy too. Plus, we work to explain it or maybe teach something, so our brain works in a different way to process the memory.
Once I’ve noticed that I’ve seen Mt. Rainier on my walk, I text my husband that it was so beautiful! Along with helping you remember, it will probably give them a little joy too.
REFLECT ON IT
If you’re with someone for a joyful moment, talk about it! Talk about what made you smile or what was new. Ask the person what they liked about it. Maybe even talk about how it impacts you in a bigger way
“Wow, wasn’t that shooting star so cool? Have you ever seen one before?”
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REMINISCE ON A SIMILAR MEMORY
Did this joyful moment remind you of something? Connecting it to an older memory can also help you remember it! Use one of the above tactics to reflect on the older memory and how it connects to this new moment.
We went on a weekend trip in February to a pretty mountain town with snow, and it reminded me of when I used to ski! So I told Aidan about some skiing adventures.
PUT ON A GREAT SONG
Music and memory are absolutely connected. In dementia patients, the brain remembers songs (mostly from young adulthood) even after it forgets relatives’ faces. Often when we hear a song we haven’t heard in a while, we remember a specific moment or time period. Put on a great song after or during a joyful event and soak in the wonderful feelings! You may just remember this time better later on 🙂
At our wedding, I walked down the aisle to Perfect by Ed Sheeran with Beyoncé. Every time I hear that song now, I think of marrying Aidan!
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What are some of your joyful moments? Share them with us below!
You’re obviously not going to remember ALL your joyful moments forever. But maybe using some of these tactics can help you outweigh the negative moments in your memory ☺️ The more joyful moments you remember, the easier it will be to think of one in a time of need!
Hi! I’m Sam ☺️ I love sharing with others how I try to make a more joyful life, especially through improving self-care, focusing on my marriage, growing closer to God, and baking delicious treats. I blog part time and work as a nanny during the day, and I’m also a Board Certified Music Therapist, with a minor in psychology. I’m living in Washington, US, with my husband, Aidan, and our cat, Missy. Other things I love include being outside, seeing beautiful places, and playing games! If you liked this post, you can find me at my blog’s website https://thejoyonthejourney.com , on Instagram and Pinterest @thejoyonthejourney, and on Twitter @joyonthejblog