Finding Your Happy Places

Posted: June 11, 2011 in Psychology

Research has found that remembering happy times from the past does more to improve your mood than thinking about your present circumstances or future goals (WebMD Feature from “Psychology Today” Magazine, Marina Krakovsky: WebMD’s depression help center). What happy times should you remember and how do you bring them up?


The easiest memories to bring back are your past achievements. You are reminded of your greatests successes because they were promotions, graduations and profitable businesses. They happened over a long period of time. Use those memories to bring back more happy thoughts. What were the positive milestones along the way to your past long term achievements?


Past relationships are even more powerful self-esteem enhancers. While reviewing your successes, think about the people that were part of your life. Remember the good times you had together; the meals, parties, road trips, vacations, conversations, and other social activities.


Memories can motivate you in the present by helping you feel rooted. This gives you a sense of meaning and purpose. You’ve had some great relationships in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Such memories are especially useful when you change jobs and need to build new social relationships. You’ve built good friendships in the past and will again. Use your past successes to motivate you to build new relationships and start new projects.


Thinking about good memories does more for us than writing them down. Writing things down can hold the unspoken idea that, “Now I can forget about that. I’ve got it on paper.” You don’t want to forget your happy thoughts. Write them if you want, but then think about them. Try to bring back entire stories from the past.

It’s the opposite for bad memories. Write them down to help you forget about them. Thinking about bad times makes it worse because you relive them. Write them out and be done with them. Then think about happy memories that are polar opposites.

Did you embarrass yourself at a party? Think about the parties where you had a great time. Are you having trouble forgetting about a friendship that ended badly? Think about all the good times you had together before that day.

Build Your Happy Places

While writing out your happy experiences may be an unwelcome aid to forgetting about them, writing them in point form encourages you to remember. “The drama club”, for example, says nothing about the happy memories you will bring up when you are reminded of those days.

Since past relationships are even more important at increasing your happy thoughts, add the names of important people to your point form list.

What can you do today to help yourself remember happy places and people from your past?

Article text copyright 2011 David Arthur Smith. All Rights Reserved.


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