What if the act of capturing memories could provide as much joy and meaning as looking back on them? Here are 5 ways the actual process of capturing memories can help you better appreciate life…
1) Capture memories to better appreciate the people around you.
Recording your thoughts about the people around you—family, friends, coworkers—will help you better appreciate the relationships you have with them. What are their quirks that amuse you? Their strengths that inspire you? Their passions and pet peeves? Their wise and funny sayings? Making note of these small, yet significant tidbits will help you to notice many things you might normally take for granted about the people around you and will also help you develop deeper relationships with these people. We see this with parents who grow to love the distinct differences in each of their children. One child might act more like dad while the other looks just like mom, but parents learn to appreciate each child’s unique blend of good, and a few “less good”, characteristics. We can all benefit from more consciously appreciating the unbridled energy and lust for life that kids tend to have. For example, the raw creativity expressed in their artwork can be inspiring. Taking time to photograph their paintings (the paint that makes it onto the paper rather than the walls that is) and making some notes about each piece helps us gain a greater appreciation of them and their art. Rather than focusing on the mess made in its creation, we start to focus on things like the subject our child selected, how they perceive it, the effort they made to create it and the unique artistic style they’re developing. Applying this same process of conscious observation and curation can help us appreciate not just our kids and their artwork, but everyone that touches our lives.
2) Capture memories to better appreciate the physical world around you.
It’s easy to take the world around us for granted, not stopping to appreciate the beauty and joy that our environment can provide. While light snowfall on a winter evening or an evening sunset on a beach vacation can be breathtaking, other wonders surround us everyday…we just need to look for them. Capturing pictures of a favorite park nearby, the city skyline, or the flowers appearing in spring can help you recapture that appreciation. When we think of our houses, often it’s a list of chores that comes to mind, but noting the little things we usually take for granted can help us change our perspective: the peaceful solitude of your screen porch; hungry birds at your feeder; your freshly planted vegetable garden; and even the soft warmth of your comforter or your therapeutic spa bath are all aspects of life usually left out when thinking of what we are thankful for. Being mindful of all the things we have and how those things play into our daily lives can make all the difference in our mood around the house and our attitude as we venture out into the world.
3) Capture memories to better appreciate your daily routines.
As the saying goes, it’s the small things that make life worth living. So why not learn to better appreciate the little details in your daily routine? Our days can sometimes seem like a grind, but taking a closer look can reveal aspects we previously took for granted: the way the sun shines through our kitchen window each morning, the smell of our favorite coffee brew before our scenic, yet familiar commute to work; the restaurant we go to every Friday night; our favorite Spotify playlist. Be mindful of the details that constitute your everyday life. Going to your kid’s dance recital isn’t just another chore, but a chance to witness the joy they get from performing and an opportunity to express how proud of them you are. Time tends to fly past us when we simply go through the motions each day. Looking for facets of our daily lives worth recording leads to a greater mindfulness and appreciation for all the gifts this life has to offer.
4) Capture memories to better appreciate your work life.
When many of us go to work, we don’t always love it. There are times we just want a break. But for many of us, there are many aspects of our jobs that bring joy and fulfillment that we might not even realize. We tend to think capturing moments is for events with friends and family, but taking the time to record our work lives can help us better appreciate where most of our time is spent. What do you dislike about your job? Maybe it’s a lazy coworker whose slack you have to pick up. What drives you to do better at your work? Maybe it’s the pleasure of meeting new people in the community. No job is ever going to be perfect. But by recording more about our work, we can better identify positive and negative factors and can use this information to take actions that will increase the overall enjoyment and sense of fulfillment we get from this big part of our lives.
5) Capture memories to better appreciate your leisure time.
The things that consistently bring us joy and relieve our stress say a lot about ourselves, though they regularly go unappreciated and unrecorded. Think of your favorite vacation spot, your go-to hobby on the weekends, or your guilty-pleasure HBO show. These can be the most memorable and meaningful moments in our lives. You probably have pictures on the wall of family vacations to the beach, but how often do you record the everyday leisure activities that bring you happiness? When we look back at captured memories, do we see those enjoyable moments when we took a break and just relaxed? Taking the time to photograph or journal about your gardening on the weekends or indulging in a few episodes of Masterpiece Theater after the kids to go bed will help you appreciate how you spend your leisure time.
The process of capturing our thoughts and memories helps awaken us and focus us more on the present moment. With tools like Arkiver to aid us in capturing and curating these memories, we can better appreciate the value of all we have around us. It is in this type of deep appreciation that the key to happiness lies.
Thanks to Cory Bailey for his help with this post.