Remember the good stuff, not the bad

Today’s tip: easy memory improvement plus easy mood improvement. And a nice photo of the day as a reward for reading to the end!

How often do we remember the “bad” stuff that happens: the person who drove aggressively and scared us, realizing we were overcharged for something we bought, or the unkind word someone said? Even people who complain they can’t remember well seem to be able to relate story after story about the negative things of the world.

How often do we remember that amazing sunset from a few night ago, the first fireflies of summer (if you’ve heard one of my memory presentations you probably remember “The fireflies?!” story), the feel of a loved one’s hand in ours, or the person who held the door open for us? These “good” memories are often gone all too soon.


The stories we tell affect us because we’re reviewing and reinforcing our memories. Tell the story about that &#($(&$ driver on the highway enough times (even two times might do it!) and it sticks in you mind.

Do we give the same time (or even better - more time) to the good stories? Do we rush into the office and breathlessly tell our colleagues about the hawk we saw sitting along the highway, its feathers ago in the morning sun?
No. Instead we mention how horrible the traffic was AGAIN, the crazy thing our spouse did that we disliked, or something equally “awful.”

Consider making a conscious choice to tell a story or review in your mind something positive. Reinforce the good stuff, not the bad. Your memory — and mood — will thank you.

While you’re reminding yourself of something positive, think about what else you want to remember from today or yesterday: someone’s name or the work conversation (even if it doesn’t have a deadline or an important to-do involved it pays to remember conversations with clients, managers, and colleagues). That review will tell your mind, “This is important — pay attention and store this information.”

Need more memory hacks? My latest book is full of them — much more in depth than the above but still quick, easy, and fun to read and to put into practice.

Thanks for reading. Here’s your reward - a photo of Mr. Cardinal in the rain.