Human beings have a unique ability to focus on things that aren’t happening right now. This allows them to reflect on the past and learn from it.
This month at K&M Communities we have asked you to help us explore some the reasons, benefits (or otherwise) of reminiscing and the ways you come together to do it locally.
Reminisce (verb): to recall past experiences, events, etc
One of the functions of the human mind is to remember.
We have developed this ability for a reason. It helps us stay with or change a course of action and recalling times past can be a pleasant diversion, it can stimulate the mind, and helps give us perspective and a sense of who we are. When we reminisce and share memories with someone, whether they were there or not, it can help build understanding and connection and re-enforce a sense of who we are; it can help us appreciate our lives a little more.
Indeed reminiscing is used therapeutically with, for example, people experiencing dementia. This involves talking about things from the past, using prompts such as photos, familiar objects or music. A scrapbook or photo album can be used to record details of the person’s life experiences, values and beliefs. Techniques like this are popular because they draw on early memories, which people with dementia tend to retain best.
There is evidence that reminiscence increases confidence and builds on people’s remaining skills. It concentrates on early memories that remain vivid when recent events fade. It also allows a person to return to a time in their life when they were active, healthy and productive. As a result, the listener can learn more about the life of the person with dementia, which can aid in understanding current behaviours and enhance supportive feelings. Additionally, researchers argue that by encouraging elderly patients to reminisce about their families, careers and other personal experiences, caregivers can improve the quality of their lives or even prolong them.
Join In Some Collective Local Reminiscing
We’ve all had similar experiences, when one of our senses suddenly becomes awakened. It could be a photo, the feel of a piece of cloth, some music or a particular taste or smell.
During November, we’ll be putting out various prompts and questions, here of the blog and on the Facebook page, to encourage some collective local reminiscing.
That song brings back memories…….
What does that smell remind me of?
We hope you’ll join us in this! The launch of our Old Picture Postcard Competition will offer a number of opportunities.
And When The Past Gets In The Way . . .
Of course, there are times when the past just seems to get in the way. We’re not often even aware of when we are allowing it to cloud our present experience. Increasing research recognises that the undisciplined wandering of our minds away from the present moment can reduce our capacity to feel peaceful and content.
Mindfulness and meditation are fast gaining acceptance and popularity as useful tools for healthy living. Additionally, there are times when we haven’t been able to digest our experiences and they seem to keep us stuck. This can happen both as individuals and as collectives (cultures, nations, communities) and we may include a couple of blog posts that explore these types of situation as well and again, we’d love to hear what you think.