At last, the days are longer and there is plenty of light. There are more crowds of people around and the busy sound of chatter all over the place. So what do we chatter about and what sort of chatter brings meaning to our lives? It seems that everyone has their ‘story’ to tell. Whether this is about the aches and pains of life or the hilarious things that happened to them, or the way they have interpreted information or the way they want to present information to you or justify their view to you or perhaps the memories they have gathered from their experiences and want to share with you. As human beings, we seem to love listening to a good story.
Storytelling goes as far into history as one can remember. It is an act that involves sharing thoughts, ideas, knowledge and values. It seems to be central to human existence and takes place in every known culture in the world.
Research into storytelling tells us that stories are more than simply fairy tales. They actually alter our brains, and can even change the way we think and act. We use stories to find meaning in the world around us. We see ourselves in them, and the stories we hear become personal to us. How often have you heard a story or read a book and imagined yourself as one of the characters or connected how you feel with someone in the story?
Stories are so important to us that we even invent them when they’re not actually there. For example, have you ever found yourself looking into the sky and seeing shapes in the cloud that you turn into a story? Or have you heard the variety of stories and poems that originate from ‘The Man in the Moon’?
So it seems that we love stories because they activate our minds. Stories can activate parts of our brains that give us sensory experiences (smell when we see a delicious meal being described, pain when we listen to the angst in someone’s life). When we listen to impactful stories, our brains can actually cause us to develop thoughts, opinions and ideas that match with the person telling the story. In this way, stories are powerful enough to influence our way of thinking.
So in an age where it is easy to spend time in virtual reality, how about engaging in face to face storytelling, whether this is your own creative invention or a memory you want to pass on to others. Stories can make a difference to someone’s life for the better and bring them great joy. So a task to carry out to bring merriment in the month of May could include any of the following: What is one of your favourite stories and who would be a good person to share that story with? Have you got some memories that you want to share that could influence someone to make their life better?
Is there someone you know who tells wonderful stories and could you arrange to meet up with them and learn something from them?
Do you have time to carry out voluntary work with those people who need company and in return could share some amazing memories?
Who do you think is the best person to give you advice on a concern and can share a story or two with you that makes the advice turn into action?
Could you turn a factual statement into a gripping story to create some motivation or an impact? For example, ‘I have to wash the dishes now’ to ‘I am going to soak those dirty plates in some warm bubbly water and watch the magic of soap take away the stains and turn my plates into beautiful white china that sparkles in the sunshine’.
Could you join a story telling or story writing course or just record a story or write a story for your own pleasure?
By simply telling a story, a person could plant ideas, thoughts and emotions into the listeners’ brains. And so to this end…