Memorable experiences: 5 tips to consciously create them
How do you create joyous experiences in everyday life? Here MANJUNATH T shares some tips from his own experience to enrich each day with memorable experiences.
Try a small experiment:
What made these experiences memorable? Did you realize it during the experience, or did you know only when you reflected on it later? Are good memories expensive? Do they happen by chance or can we consciously create them?
If your mind was flooded with too many experiences and you had trouble shortlisting them, then probably you are a joyous person. You have the ability to create positive experiences not just for yourself but also for others. If not, the good news is that you can consciously create them.
Based on the collective wisdom of anthropologists, neuroscientists and spiritual thinkers, here are 5 tips:
Giving creates more lasting memories than receiving
Do you remember how you celebrated your birthday three years ago? You probably cut a cake, ate at a wonderful restaurant, and received expensive gifts. Do you have trouble recalling? Then your brain probably classified this as a mundane experience and flushed it out of your memory after some time.
Next time, try something different. Go to an orphanage or an old age home and personally serve them a meal with your personal involvement. This may turn out to be a very memorable birthday! And if your birthday is too far away, then don’t wait, just do it. See the result of this experience.
Invest in experiences rather than things
If you have to choose between receiving a thing versus an experience, go for the latter. A Forbes article1 quotes a 20-year study by a Cornell Professor, Dr Thomas Gilovich, about the ‘Paradox of Possessions’. He found that though things outlive experiences, they do not have a profound impact on our memory. On the contrary, an experience, though fleeting, has the ability to touch your soul. After all, your possessions are yours, but not you.
Go to a new place once every few months
This suggestion comes from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Please do not misinterpret this as a suggestion to visit an exotic place every few months, as that can be a very expensive hobby! It’s important to understand the essence of his teaching. Try exploring the countryside around the city where you live. This may expand your perspective in more ways than you ever imagined.
Surprise someone with a phone call
Has your hectic life erased someone from your active memory? Is there someone who crosses your mind but you have not spoken to in a long time? Surprise them with a phone call. Also, make it a point to tell them that you have been thinking of them for a while. Follow it up by meeting them. You are assured of making their day a memorable one, and also your own.
Eat your favorite meal without multitasking
After several years of penance and extreme hardships, the Buddha finally received enlightenment. His eager disciples asked him to share his teachings of life. These were his first words: “Let’s eat.” He and his disciples ate ripe and delicious mangoes. They didn’t even talk to each other until they finished eating. All they did was to savor the mangoes with full involvement.
The Buddha was living in the present, which became an integral part of his teachings. Try it! But here is the catch: have your favorite meal without your phone, TV, or even chatting with those around you. Just savor the moment as if it’s your last one. While this may sound ordinary, your brain thinks it’s a big event and will offer its precious mind-space for a long time.
1 https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2016/08/09/why-youshould- spend-your-money-on-experiences-not-things/#72cee8a86520
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