Why leaders tell us stories.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Castle in the sky

Storybook world.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The best leaders tell the best stories.

Throughout history, many of the greatest leaders have also been great storytellers. They knew that they needed to inspire their followers with images that were easy to understand and that made the personal connection with what they were teaching.

Now by telling stories, I do not mean the kind some of our politicians have been telling us recently. Those “stories” are just self-serving distortions of the truth. Their stories are designed to obscure the truth, not illuminate it.

Great leaders have used story’s to teach universal truths and to inspire their followers to action.

Martin Luther King Jr. gave us the story of a dream. Not simply that he dreamed things would be better someday, but he gave us a detailed description of this dream, children walking hand in hand, people being judged by who they are not by how they looked.

All the great religious books are full of stories. The Bible stories are often referred to as parables.  The story of the widow and her mite, the Good Samaritan, they bring moral teachings to life.

Jesus told a great many stories, they are the subject of Sunday school lessons and the weekly sermon to this day some two-thousand-plus years later.

Buddha taught using stories. So did a great many other religious leaders. The wisdom of the Native Americans was preserved and retold in their myths, legends, and stories.

The stories told on the big screen and the smaller ones have a huge power to influence the way we think. We see things happen, we can empathize with the characters in the movie and we learn vicarious lessons as a result. Those dramatic fictions hold tremendous power to influence how people think and what they think about.

The stories told in books have shaped the imagination and the opinions of the generations that read those books. Many of us remember our childhood through the connections to our favorite stories.

It is getting harder for our political leaders to inspire us with their stories. Too many of their stories are about whose fault things are, they are about blame and negativity. Telling us the sky is falling may scare us into running; it does not inspire a people to build for the future.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for our leaders to inspire us by the use of stories. Speeches full of bullet points won’t cut it. Should a politician try to inspire us with a story about a person, they had better have the facts right.

If that story about the Good Samaritan were told today there would be a network news investigation. They would find that person or force Jesus to admit he made the story up. The person in that parable would be interviewed and so would their family and neighbors.

Eventually, a whole lot of other information about that person’s private life would be in prime time news. The misdeeds this person had committed would become common knowledge and the impact of telling their story of suffering would be lost in the haze of blaming them for their suffering because they were less than perfect.

The role of the story-teller who can inspire us to be more and better has passed from the realm of the religious and political leader to the providence of the dramatic presentation. Our greatest inspiration comes from stories that take place in a distant galaxy and a time far off from the present.

Losing our storytellers to the press of commercial profit-making has enlarged the number and the drama of the stories. What is often missing is the ability of our leaders to inspire us to become better people. We have given up the story of what could happen in your lives for the fantasy of what only happens somewhere else to someone else.

In the process, we have become a more entertained people and a less inspired one.

Look for the stories that inspire you to a better, happier life no matter where you find them. And if you find those stories feel free to share them with us.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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We remember the unique not the ordinary – memory is about choices.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Brain

Memory.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The tale of an alligator dinner.

Unique events make a deep impression and are stored more deeply, more thoroughly in our brains. Common everyday events pass us by with barely a second glance. Humans are “cognitive misers.” Our brains don’t waste storage space on things unless the brain considers it important to pay attention to this item or event.

Want to remember something for a long time, make sure that person or event makes a unique impression on you. This impression is not just about the person or event, it is also about the choices you make and the attention you pay to the things you do.

In my younger days, so the story goes, I did a good bit of traveling. In those travels, I have been to my fair share of festivals and then some. More than one city holds an annual Strawberry Festival.

There are countless “vegetation festivals” all complete with their respective vegetation Queens. Broccoli festivals, Asparagus festivals, Onion festivals and Artichoke festivals, the list is almost endless. After a while, one vegetation festival looks a lot like the next.

Each and every festival has its share of festival food. The Garlic Festival featured garlic ice cream which I decided to pass on. I can’t recall how the vanilla ice cream I bought that day tasted. I may have missed a bet by passing on the Garlic ice cream.

Most of the time at these festivals I get hungry. So do those I was with. Guess what we ate? Most days it was hamburgers and the like. Do I have any idea which was better, the burger at the Broccoli festival or the burger at the Artichoke Festival? Not a chance!

What I do remember was the Alligator at the seafood festival. I assume it was real alligator, though it was in a heavy garlic sauce so who can be sure. That same food vendor may well have sold that same menu at the garlic festival also.

Frankly, my particular alligator was not only heavy in garlic but also a bit overcooked and rubbery. Now if you eat alligator on a regular basis you can comment and tell me if good alligator should taste rubbery like B.F. Goodrich or not.

My point is that while I could not tell you about a whole lot of festival food, I will never forget that Alligator meal. The reason it was unforgettable was that it was, to me, so very unusual.

Commonplace items do not make much of an impression on us no matter how good. But the unusual, that impression good or bad, will last and last.

Not everyone can chase down some alligator for dinner tonight, I give you that, and those who do find it on the menu where they eat may be quite tired of it at this point.

My point here is that given the choice, go for the unusual, the thing you have never tried before because you will remember the unique item long after the ordinary is forgotten.

Looking for the unique can really help you remember. That is not restricted to totally unique things or events. Find one unique quality and that will anchor the memory and help you hold onto it a whole lot longer.

Trouble for many of us is that if you do not know what you are looking at you may not be able to see the unique when it slides off your plate, so to speak.

In the next few posts, we are still talking memory improvement and mental efficacy here, I want to tell you about how to find the unusual when you don’t know what you are looking at. We also want to find out how to find the unusual in what at first look appears to be an ordinary person or place. With those skills, things that you used to pass by and forget in an instant can stay in your memory for as long as you chose.

Memory improvement skills do not come instantly so you will need to practice the skill a bit. It is a whole lot more fun to practice memory skills than to keep forgetting who you are and where you live.

Practice your memory skills and remember to check back the rest of the month for more on memory improvement and self-help skills.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

How did you know that? When and where we learn things matters.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Memory.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You know you know something but can’t remember why.

Lately, I am having this problem more and more. How about you? And no it is not just about age. Seems that preschoolers have this same problem. It has to do with differing types of memories that were stored in different ways.

I go to write about something, maybe I remember a fact or a quote but I can’t for the life of me remember which book or article, out of the hundreds I have read, I got that from. I don’t want to just plagiarize someone else’s idea but at what point does it move from being something someone else told me and become something I just know because I know it?

Some things we know because of verbal memory. I know that George Washington was the first president of the United States; I also know that there was a thing called the Hundred Years War. I do not for the life of me remember when and where I first learned about either of those things.

This type of memory is semantic as in words or stories type memories. We know about Washington and the hundred acres woods or was that the hundred years war? But who told us.

There are other things that I remember clearly when and where I was the first time I heard about something. In that case, I can clearly tell you who it was that told me all about that “fact.” These specific learning experiences are called “episodic memories.”

The distinction between these two kinds of knowledge gets glossed over a lot. The result can be that we believe “facts” because someone told us and now, not remembering who it was that said that first; we just accept this as true. What if the person who told us that was wrong?

The source of our “facts” is important also.

This idea of separating out the things we just know from general knowledge and those things we can tell the exact time and place where we learned it has been studied in children. (See Bemis, et al., 2011, note that for once I found one of the studies that I was thinking of.)

Their study on very young children, looked at the times the kids could tell you specifically when and where they were when they first learned something and the times they felt they “just knew” something. They came up with some interesting ideas, albeit the conclusions are a bit tentative. But research types never seem to know anything for sure they just know they need to study this more.

Even in preschool kids, females seem more likely to remember the story of when they learned something rather than to just know that fact. Boys at that age just take it for granted they know what they know, more often than girls. Don’t lay this on genetics though. Researchers have concluded that this comes from the way the parents were spending more time telling their daughters stories about why things were the way they were as opposed to just saying to boys things were that way because they were.

When a little boy tells you he is smart or handsome he believes this is just because it is so. A little girl will be able to provide evidence. She is smart because her grandma said so. She is also cute because dad says so and very cantankerous, whatever that is because mom said so. See the difference between these two approaches?

Kids of both genders reported a variety of times and places they had learned things. They could also at a very early age report whether they saw something, heard it, read it in a book or learned it during an activity like a game.

This variation in how they knew when and where they learned things goes to the basic learning styles. Some people just learn things better when they see them and others when they read or hear and so on. Unfortunately, despite which way you may be best at learning we try to cram all kids into the same learning style. As they move along in school fewer, not more, ways of learning are likely to be emphasized.

Older kids are more likely than younger ones to remember when and where they learned something but the little ones could still describe the time and place that they first learned a particular fact.

This is back to the impact of that first impression. If the first time you learned about pigs you saw grandma feeding one, this is a whole lot different than if you saw “P is for Pig” in a storybook.

Boys do appear to be better able to learn from seeing things even from a very young age. Girls pick things up better from actually doing things. How much of those differences are the boys and girls and how much comes from the way mommies and daddies treat kids is open to debate?

The takeaway here is that we may remember lots of things we think are so, but not as many things that we can say when and where we learned them. Sometimes we might want to question those things we know but can’t say why we know them.

Remember that you heard this on counselorssoapbox.com OK?

  • Forgetting things may not be a memory problem (counselorssoapbox.com)
  • Learning to feel (counselorssoapbox.com)
  • Your autobiography as therapy (counselorssoapbox.com)
  • Mental Health, Self-improvement & Happy life – Counselorssoapbox.com January 2013 Best of Blog (counselorssoapbox.com)
  • Are you a Mind Reader? (counselorssoapbox.com)

    Staying connected with David Joel Miller

    Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

    Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

    Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

    For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

    Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

    Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

    For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Finding success when fear is in the way

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Success or failure sign

Success or failure.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Success – You can’t get there from here; you need to go somewhere else first.

Do you have a picture of success in your mind? Have you thought about the things you will need to do to get there from where you are? But you can’t seem to make any progress?

Is there a fear blocking your path?

One major obstacle in the path to being successful for many of us is that boulder-sized fear that is right in front of us. What will you need to do to get past that fear and reach the success you were meant to find?

We have talked in the past about making sure that what you say your goals are is in fact what you really want out of life. Nothing so clearly undermines success as heading towards the one goal we say we want while looking over our shoulder at the goal we wish we were working on.  Secretly wishing we were going somewhere else impedes all forward progress.

Your goals also need to be consistent with your values. If what really matters to you is your family and friends, good relationships make you happy; trying to make a lot of money will take you away from your goals and reduce the time you have to spend on improving those relationships. Sure you need some money, but how much money is enough and how much time with a loved one is too much?

Fears in our path to success can come in all sizes and shapes.

One fear that keeps people from trying is the fear of success. What would it mean to you to be truly successful? If you are unsure if you believe you don’t deserve success or you think others will look down on you and reject you if you stood out, then your brain will help you out here and sabotage your efforts to do something that it knows you don’t really want.

To reach success, however, you define it; you need to believe that you deserve to succeed.

Fear can take up a place in your way to success wearing the disguise of doubt or self-distrust. If you don’t believe that you will be successful, others around you will find it difficult to believe in you. If you give off that vibe that you don’t really want to accomplish anything, those around you will spend their time helping people who want to go somewhere.

Some fears shrink when you approach them.

That old bogeyman under the bed disappears when we shine a light under the bed. The same is true of many other fears. Avoiding unpleasant things makes them scarier. Some fears will shrink rapidly once you walk up to them and begin the task.

Some fears won’t budge and you have to find ways around them.

If the thing you fear is a real risk, you need to look for ways to reduce that risk. Insurance and savings are two ways people shrink risk. Getting the education and training you need to be successful in a field also reduce the risk of heading in that direction.

Think for a while about the role of your fears in keeping you from the success you want. Is it trying to protect you from failing? Is it warning you of a real risk that needs to be taken into account?

Concurring fear is an important step in your journey to that happy, successful life you deserve.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

5 reasons learning and memory are not about intelligence

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Puzzle

Memory pieces.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Average people remember things that supposedly smart people forget.

Our educational system and a lot of parent’s efforts to help their children learn are misguided.

Somewhere along the line, we got the impression that to be a good learner you needed to be really smart and that if you scored low on an I.Q. test then you would never be able to learn.

That is just not so. Being smart helps, but it is not the whole story. There are things anyone can do to improve their memory and learning.

Here are some reasons why.

1. Learning is emotional, not intellectual.

If you truly enjoy something it is easy to learn a lot about that subject. If you don’t care about something it is next to impossible to remember. If you have ever had to take a class in school because it was required, but it was nothing you will ever care about after the class is over, you know what I mean.

Excitement fuels learning. Anything that gets you excited about a subject leads to better, learning, memory and retention of that subject. Practicing memory games can make learning more fun and goes a long way towards improving your memory.

2. Learning is cumulative.

We find learning about something very difficult when we don’t have the foundation to understand the subject. Knowledge is cumulative. If you don’t have the basics down the advanced material becomes more difficult.

Begin with something simple, something that interests you and as you learn more about that subject. Ask yourself what else you want to know about. Follow those trails wherever they go and you will find yourself become more knowledgeable about many things.

3. Learning and memory require willpower.

To learn some things requires willpower. I wrote a while back about how many people have difficulties with willpower. One reason willpower is so elusive is our tendency to confuse willpower and won’t power. Another cause of poor willpower is the natural human tendency to enjoy today and forget tomorrow.

The hardest form of willpower is the ability to do something unpleasant today because it will produce future gains.

4. Learning is about how many words you know.

Memories for most people are saved as stories. The more words you know the less effort it takes to convert this expertise, real or imagined, into a story that will be easy to remember.

Movies and books are hard to remember if you don’t have the vocabulary to store and retell the events that made this story important.

Reading anything can improve your vocabulary. The more you read the more you learn and the more able to learn and remember you become.

5. You can’t rely on only one sense to store information into memory.

Having multiple anchors in your memory from multiple senses helps you to store and retrieve that memory.

When there is someone or something that you want to remember to try associating that memory with all your senses. What did it smell like? What were the good smells and the bad orders? Did it touch you internally as well as externally?

Paying attention to the sound of the person’s voice, their facial expressions and the way you experienced their presence will help you in remembering that person.

Most of us have tried to improve memory by becoming better at memorizing words rather than by learning to engage all our senses and fully experience the event.

In future posts, we will talk about some ways to improve your acuity and mental efficiency using senses other than verbal memories as ways to improve your ability to remember.

Go out there and practice mental efficiency, memory improvement and the other skills you will need to create the success you want.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Increase mental efficiency – Remembering people better.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Brain

Memory.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How to improve mental efficiency and rev up the memory.

Improve your mental efficiency and improve your memory by practicing skills of observation. Becoming more observant is a skill you can learn.

Before you can remember someone you first need to get a good look at them. You need to be really observant.

There is an exercise that can help you with your ability to observe and remember people. It is an old exercise, from back in the pre-computer age, but still, one worth doing.

Think of a person you know socially but not necessarily well. Try to visualize this person. Get out a piece of paper you can save and write the answers to the following questions down.

Briefly, who is this person and how do you know them?

Male or female?

How old do you estimate they are? What would you guess their weight to be? How tall are they?

What is their hairstyle? Identifying hairstyle may be a challenge for some men. As we saw in a previous post about the expert effect if you don’t know what to call a particular hair style you may have trouble remembering it.

If they are a male do they have a beard? A mustache? How long are their sideburns?

How are their nails done?

What do they usually wear?

What did they wear the last time you saw them?

What are some of their common expressions? If you received a note from them that was unsigned could you pick it out from the handwriting or from expressions they use?

What is their predominant mood?

Repeat this exercise for at least three people including at least one man and one woman.

Next time you see this person check back and see how much you got correct. What did you have wrong?

Repeatedly practicing this exercise will improve your powers of observation. It will sensitize you to individual variations and make you more aware of the people you meet.

How well did you do at remembering other people? Can you see a value of practicing to improve your mental efficiency and memory?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Improving your memory by finding happiness – excavating happiness

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Old pictures

Memories.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Sometimes you need to excavate those happy memories.

Part of memory improvement is reviving old memories you may still need but are having a hard time finding. One good place to start is reviving happy positive memories.

One great technique to retrieve those happy memories is a dose of introspection. Looking inside yourself can help you find things you had forgotten were there.

Happy memories are sometimes hard to recall. Let’s work on improving your memory by improving recall of happy times in the past. Memories that are not used degrade. With total disuse, the brain may prune off those memory connections. Certain times in your life and emotional states promote that pruning.

One good think about faded memories is that if you can find them before they are gone you can retrieve them. It is always easier to learn something a second time than it was the first time because there may be traces of those memories left in your brain.

Here are some questions to ask yourself. I suggest you write the answers down whenever possible. The act of writing them down stores them in a second part of the brain and may make retrieval easier. Telling someone about those happy memories has a similar effect. For good measure whenever possible do both.

1. When was the happiest time in your life? The three happiest times?

Try to walk back through those happy times. Where were you? Who were you with? If that person is no longer part of your life try to only remember the good part of this happy time, not the subsequent loss.

Try to recall as many details as possible. What time of year was it? Where there any smells? What was touching your skin? The more senses you can involve the more details you remember the more real and permanent the memory becomes.

If you find yourself stumped on that happy time, look for a happy place, somewhere you may have been or a trip you took. Even if that place was imaginary, returning to it can improve your mood.

Some of our memories come from the books we read, the movies we watched and the characters from those stories that made their way into our hearts. For some that happy memory will be the time their favorite team won that big game.

2. What was the best job you ever had?

This may not have been the best paying but it was the one you wanted and may have wished you could do again. Relive that excitement of being chosen for that job.

Where were you when you had that job? What else was going on in your life at that time? Try to remember the people you worked with. How did they treat you? What made this the best job of your life?

In the moment we store a lot of memories about the problems on any job. If you look back searching for the things that meant the most to you there just might be some things you need to remember.

3. What are your good qualities?

This can be harder than the first two. If you are stumped on this one ask yourself how a friend would describe your good qualities? What would you say to a potential boss if you were asked this in an interview?

Don’t dismiss this question too quickly. Give yourself time to ponder.  Most people have far more skills and good qualities than they give themselves credit for.

Did you win a contest? Have you ever been given an honor? Do not dismiss that victory no matter how small and insignificant it may seem now. Those past achievements will tell you a lot about yourself and the potential you have to become even more.

4. When was the last time you learned something new?

Was this a good experience? Are you proud of what you learned? Had you planned on having this experience or did it just happen? If you learned this new thing with someone else, who? Is this person still in your life? In a good way?

People who continue to learn throughout the lifespan get more mileage from that thing we call a brain. Lifelong learning may not cure Alzheimer’s but it is good for knocking the cobwebs off the brain and keeping it working to the best of your ability.

5. When in your life was your health at its best?

What else was going on then? Has your health fluctuated over the years? Has that affected your happiness? Is there anything you can do to improve your health and re-experience those happy times?

Some of these introspective self-examination questions will bring up painful memories as well as the happy ones. Notice the pain and then let it go. Your goal is to focus on the happiness you had forgotten. For more on the problem of painful memories check out the post on meditation and painful memories.

Happiness and pain are not stored equally. It is easier to remember the bad than the good. Cultivate the habit of looking for the positive and adding those memories to your memory collection and you will find your happiness and your memory will improve.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.