Power Of Happy Memories: Can They Be A Source of Motivation
Where to look for strength, motivation, and inspiration when utterly alone and in tough times
They say that change is inevitable — that it is the only constant. I agree. Not only is it the only true constant in life, but it is also one that can cause a lot of pain and panic. Life never moves in a straight line, it moves in a sinusoidal curve. Full of (regular) highs and lows which are depicted by happy as well as painful changes.
An event or epiphany or a simple thought, sometimes, can bring a thorough change in the way we live — it has the power to change the trail our thoughts usually follow. A new job, marriage, a new friend, a new home, a new belief in oneself and some such things can bring a powerful positive change in life — they make us happy. In such conditions, motivation and strength flow naturally from this happiness and into our lives.
But, there are times when our thoughts or certain events follow a downward trajectory — pulling us down to the rock bottom. A monetary loss, a friend leaving, death of a dear one, constant failures, feeling of being unwanted, lack of belief in oneself or simply getting stuck in a meaningless thought loop — such things are powerful enough to completely stop the flow of positive energy, motivation, inspiration, and belief.
Getting out of situations that pull us down is not easy and it takes a lot of effort and courage. Sometimes, there are others (people who love us) who pull us back up, restoring our lost faith in self. At other times — and this is worse — we have no one around who can pull us out from that abyss of negativity. But, life must go on and we must find a way out of every abyss, even when we have to do it ourselves — even when we are utterly alone.
But, how can we do that?
The first step to finding a solution is admitting that there is a problem. Nothing good ever comes out of suppressing emotions and ignoring the wrongs. We should never do that even when we don’t have a way to express them. Talk to yourself (nothing wrong with it), write your heart out, take medical help if you have to — we can claw our way out of anything if our brain is working in the right direction. Mental health is of utmost importance.
Next, all of us have at least one happy memory — from childhood, from college, from work, from anywhere — and such happy memories have more power of healing than we can ever realize. We realize it only when we depend on it. Sometime back I wrote about finding a connection to our inner strength — our roots. People say that we need to move on from the past but, that’s not always true and not always prudent.
Scientifically, thinking about a happy memory from the past can play a big role in increasing serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is the key hormone of happiness — a base on which antidepressants work. When we go back and bring out a happy memory from the past, the serotonin levels in the body increase automatically which leads to better regulation of mood and it also helps to regulate sleep, appetite and learning ability.
Apart from that, on a more psychological note, happy memories instantly connect us back to a time of well being, a time of fortitude and motivation of our lives — a time when (in all probability) we were at our best. What this flashback does is it makes us aware of our (lost) strength, it makes us believe that we deserve to be as happy as we were and it pushes us to restore that (lost) mental state of bliss. The belief that we deserve to be happy works wonders.
Newton’s first law of motion (law of inertia) talks about the role inertia plays in regulating the motion of a body. Inertia is basically a tendency to remain unchanged — a paradoxical idea because we have seen that nature loves change. Putting this in perspective, when we are down and we think of happy memories from the past, inertia can cause us to reject the change in mental state and go back to that happy state which we reimagine through a happy memory.
While inertia is not always good, it is one of the best things that can guide us when we are down and looking back to recover. Hence, even when we are alone (physically or otherwise), we can still help ourselves and we can still pull ourselves out from the darkest of abysses by a simple act of recalling and reliving a happy memory — the stronger and happier this memory, the more power it holds and the more it can help us stand up and rally again.
Our greatest source of strength lies within us. We only need to believe in it and learn to channel it when the times are dire.