Three simple steps to creating positive emotional memories

Three simple steps to creating positive emotional memories

As a parent, we have probably heard the saying, “we are simply creating memories for our children.”
Well, the other day I was thinking about some of my own childhood memories.

Three simple steps to creating emotional memories

What became very obvious to me was that these memories, decades later, were very blurred. I still remember events, but not the details. What I remember are the emotions that went along with each memory. How these past events made me “feel.”

This realization has made me question how I now make memories for myself and for my children. I realized that I want to focus on creating positive emotional memories…

Here are three simple steps to creating positive emotional memories… for yourself, your children, and your partner.

  1. Release the focus on “doing” and to “achieving.” Let go of the outcome…  This does not mean you won’t “do” or “achieve”, it just changes the focus on the enjoyment of the process. Let’s think about children (if you have them). Not all children and youth are meant to have perfect A grades or be captain of the football team. Focusing on “doing” and “achieving” doesn’t always create emotional memories of joy, achievement, and pride. Focusing on these outcomes could though create emotional memories of stress, sadness, anger, and failure. So, release this focus on doing and achieving is the first step toward achieving positive emotional memories. Releasing the focus away from doing and achieving may also reduce stress for you, as a parent. You don’t need to do everything perfectly any longer. You don’t need to buy every new toy available, which can also reduce financial stress.
  2. Set your goals for emotional memories you want to create… If you keep a journal, write down which emotions you want to emphasize in memories for yourself, your children, and your family. Love, joy, happiness, inspiration, pride, honor, gratitude, and contentment are just a few examples of positive emotions you may choose to set your focus. Emotions to avoid may include fear, anger, frustration, irritation, tiredness, and feelings of failure or disappointment.
  3. Create activities and family outings with these emotional goals in mind… Now you can plan activities and outings that are emotion driven rather than outcome driven. This may very well mean you won’t be taking the longest hike or reaching a mountain peak, but rather may be skipping and dancing in a park, telling funny jokes, making messes, and other more joyful activities that later will become positive emotional memories for yourself and your children.

Three simple steps to creating emotional memories

Important note: Emotional memories is just one aspect of holistic health. Please remember that creating positive emotional memories for yourself and your children doesn’t mean that we give in to unhealthy requests simply because we want to make everyone “happy.” It is very important to simultaneously encourage other aspects of a healthy life, including eating healthy foods, being physically active on a daily basis, getting quiet time, stress management, etc etc etc… Each of these healthy behaviors can easily be incorporated with your new goal of creating positive emotional memories.

As you create memories, you will set our expectations for the future. The past does effect your future. So, as you create positive emotional memories for yourself and your children, each of you will continue to live a life of positive emotions, because that is what you will learn.

Enjoy a lifetime of positive emotional memories!

Breathe & Be! Kristin

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