Today we were joined by the captivating Dr. Cat O'Brien, Interim Dean and Professor here at CyFair, who shared with us the wonders of storytelling and what an impact it has on our lives.
As Cat said, "stories are how we understand the world." They are an important part of who we are and a powerful way of sharing memories. Cat shared some wonderful stories from her own life, including how the smell of pipe tobacco and the sound of poker chips remind her of times she spent as a child watching her great-grandfather play poker, and he would always call her his good luck charm. We had the chance to experience the positive effect of story-telling for ourselves when we were asked to share the best day of our lives with each other. Telling stories also has the ability to sharpen your memory by exercising different areas of your brain and helping to make pieces of information meaningful to you. Cat also shared with us how reading or listening to stories can have positive effects, including helping increase your vocabulary and expanding your attention span. And of course, every time you hear someone else's story, you can develop a stronger bond with that person.
Try out some of the techniques that Cat recommended to help sharpen your memory and share your own stories.
- Tell stories of your struggles as a form of recovery.
- Teach someone else as a way to sharpen your own knowledge or skills--teach a friend how to knit or share the insight you learned from a book.
- Use analogies to help make a connection.
- Start writing down your shared stories with someone else--Cat is currently working on a journal with her mother where they tell the stories of their lives.
- Include stories in your conversations--Cat gave the example of spending time with her son every year on his birthday to re-tell the story of his birth.