What do printed pictures and mental health have to do with each other?
Let’s just say a lot more than you picture. 😉 (That was terrible, I know. Moving on…)
Recalling good memories has a profound impact on your brain. It doesn’t just simply make you have the warm feelings all over again – the impact goes straight into your DNA! (Source)
What is the best trigger to recall these (dare I say brain-altering) memories?
When you want to see a picture that you know will trigger a good memory you turn on your computer or phone and open … (THE BLASPHEMY.)
No, you print your pictures. You display them. Around your house. On your nightstand. In your office. Place a wallet size in your car (anyone else use to do that?).
“Recalling good memories also helps reduce toxic, unmanaged stress, brings a fresh perspective to the situation at hand and can deepen your relationships.” – Dr. Caroline Leaf, communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist.
Dr. Leaf goes on to say, “It can even improve feelings of confidence and optimism for the future!” Think of the impact that has on our children when they see their images displayed around the home.
Want to take it a step further? Read Dr. Leaf’s 7 points on how recalling good memories affects your brain health below :
1. Prompt a healthy, balanced brain wave flow, with bursts of healing theta energy waves.
2. Activate the amygdala, which is like a library keeping our emotional perceptions in “books”. This helps us develop healthy emotional perceptions that enhance the overall functionality of the amygdala.
3. Activate the frontal cortex, which can improve blood flow and coherence between the two sides of the brain. This can improve our resilience, decision-making abilities and intelligence.
4. Switch on the different components of the mirror neuron system in the inferior frontal/pre-motor and inferior parietal cortex as we experience the increased bonding and sharing that comes from talking about a happy memory with our loved ones.
5. Increase our sense of imagination, which means new thoughts with new memories are being built into the brain, strengthening it while also increasing our resilience. It is almost as though good memories build a supporting lattice/network in the brain, which help you stay strong during hard times (the ultimate insurance policy!).
6. Activate systems for reward and positive affect in the brain and body, including the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens and the orbito-frontal cortex.
7. Boost serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters in the brain that give us feelings of satisfaction and well-being, and cause the pleasure/reward centers in the brain to light up. Endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killer, also can be released when we think of happy times in the past. (https://drleaf.com/blogs/news/good-memories-as-an-insurance-policy)
I don’t know about you – but this makes me want to throw up some frames all around our house. Who knew recalling those summer memories could help us remain calm the rest of the year! 😉