by Dr. Bill Austin
Every year, my wife, Karen, and I get together with two of my childhood friends and their wives. I have known both of them since we were in Boy Scouts together. We stay connected by getting together each year at a different location. Since we live in different parts of the country, we have found that reminiscing helps us reconnect. Last year, we traveled to Missouri to the home of one of our childhood friends. While we were there, we visited our old Boy Scout camp. Seeing it brought back wonderful memories of times we spent there long ago. The special thing about this was that these two old friends knew my past; they had been a part of it. Most of the people around us now only know the person we are. They didn't experience the past events and witness the struggles of the person we were.
Research shows that it's essential to maintain strong long-term relationships ties. A great way to boost our present happiness is to remember happy times from the past. That's why reminiscing while looking at old photographs, scrapbooks, souvenirs, and home movies is so worthwhile and precious.
A great way to boost our present happiness
is to remember happy times from the past.
Reminiscing can help revitalize a marriage. Sometimes, our relationship may get into a rut. We focus on what is wrong with our marriage. One way of changing how we see our marriage is reminiscing about the good memories. We talk about the times when we felt close to each other. We talk about such things as what we thought when we first met, the funny times, and special life events. By reminiscing, we see our marriage in a more positive light, and this gives us hope.
Studies have shown that reminiscing can help people suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia. Looking at old photos of an ice cream truck, a car with a food tray on the door at a drive-in restaurant, a childhood school, or family pictures can stir memories. Also, playing music from our early years can help. Looking at old school pictures of ourselves might make us laugh. I have to laugh at the photos of my brother-in-law in some of our family pictures. He is dressed in a leisure suit with sideburns!
One caution: in an organization, we have to be careful about reminiscing if someone is new to the group and doesn't share our history. It could make them feel left out. We also have to be careful reminiscing with people who did not have a good history with us.
Reminiscing with others allows us to review our life stories and contemplate our accomplishments. This can lead to feelings of self-worth and of a life well-lived.
Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.
Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700