“You have a four-fold life to live: a body, a brain, a heart and a soul . . . these are your living tools. To use and develop them is not a task. . . . It is a golden opportunity.”
~ William H. Danforth, I Dare You!
Day to day, I try to focus on balancing a four-fold life by acknowledging the physical, mental, social and spiritual impacts and benefits of life experiences. In many instances of Reminiscence Therapy research I am finding the benefits of the recollection of stories, life lessons, feelings, smells etc. in all four of these areas. Most of the articles recommend this therapy for patients who have dementia or Alzheimer’s but I think it is important for all ages and variations of mental health.
Today I found an organization, by luck of the search, called LifeBio. They provide a service to help family members get to know each other in a way they didn’t realize they could.
Now, I haven’t used this service or done much more research on the organization, but I think the idea is wonderful. I found the post below in the LifeBio blog:
Storytelling is powerful and it is natural. Why should it be encouraged? Because it is also good for people’s health and sense of wellbeing.
Here is how LifeBio sees reminiscence touching ALL dimensions of wellness, and why it cannot be ignored as a tool to use with seniors at home, in senior living, assisted living, nursing homes, or with those who have memory challenges. Besides unlocking a fascinating story, it leads to an amazing opportunity for engagement.
- Physical – Activate the hippocampus area of brain where memories are stored. “Autobiography for older adults is like chocolate for the brain,” said Dr. Gene Cohen in a conversation with Beth Sanders, Founder of LifeBio.
- Spiritual – Deeply touch people as they share beliefs, values, life lessons, etc.
- Occupational – This gives people an important job to do. Creating a LEGACY.
- Emotional – Joys and challenges are recorded and shared. LifeBio has been found to increase happiness and satisfaction with life. “Get it off your chest.”
- Environmental – Life stories build a strong sense of community.
- Intellectual – Life stories help people learn about themselves and about other people. Fascinating new knowledge and people learn to listen.
- Social – People form new bonds with their neighbors and become friends through the power of story.
And there they are, the four-fold and more. The one I found of particular interest is the occupational dimension. “Creating a LEGACY.”
This is what Downright Ultimate is all about. A legacy is an important part of reaching ultimacy. We strive to do things that we will be remembered by while we are becoming ultimate.
So let’s do this! If we remember the books that made us think, the toys that made us giggle, the songs that made us dance, the jokes that made us laugh, then we can share these things with others in hopes they will go on to share them too.
Legacy is being created before your eyes. Reminiscence and storytelling give us the opportunity to relive the best moments to pass on the joy and the worst moments to pass on the wisdom.
Think about filmmaking. We watch many of the movies and television shows that we do because we feel like we’ve connected to the story. Filmmakers do this on purpose. They take memories of their own and add a taste of humor, a lovable best friend, an unexpected twist and we’re hooked. It makes us think, feel and relate.
Okay, you’re right, we won’t all become the next Speilberg, but we should tell our stories. And more importantly, we must listen to other people’s stories. When Grandpa says, “Back in my day …” don’t look away, Grandpa is about to drop some wisdom.
It may seem small, but the sharing of that one lesson or song or joke or quote can make a huge difference.
So now, I encourage you all to recall a time or an object in your life. Look for a time of peace, happiness, humor, adventure, surprise; Or if it’s an object, look for a special memento, an old record, an old photo, a game you used to play, a song you like to sing. Now go tell someone about it. Tell ME about it! Or better yet, blog about it! Tell a story that reminds you that you are a living, breathing, feeling being. Connect with yourself and your family or friends or readers.
Reminisce and enjoy!