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More than "just memories" Jul 14, 2016

Well-being in kids is something we are talking about more and more. A recent survey we undertook revealed that 4 our of 10 people only post to Facebook or Instagram, while 3 out of 10 do nothing with their digital photos at all.

Should this be a cause for concern? Or put slightly differently, are these people missing out on something by not doing more with their digital photos?

To answer this, we really need to think beyond the obvious conclusion that doing more with our photos helps us capture our memories, and ask ourselves, what is there to be gained by remembering our experiences? How can memories impact on well-being in kids?

Effects on well-being in kids?

Why bother to remember our experiences? Let’s rely on research done by others to answer this.

(1) Firstly, memories tell our stories.
What gives life meaning? Stories? People often say that Lincoln was a good president because he was a great storyteller. Knowing our stories tells us “our why”, and knowing “our why” helps to motivate us and engage us in life.

(2) Secondly, remembering our “small wins” is important.
As bestselling author Dan Pink explains, “Taking a moment to be happy about the little good things that happen is far more motivating than thinking you need to win that Nobel Prize or Academy Award before you are allowed to feel satisfied.” In his book The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People: What Scientists have learned and how you can use it”, the author David Niven quotes:

“Comparing people who tend to give up easily with people who tend to carry on, even through difficult challenges, researchers find that persistent people spend twice as much time thinking, not about what has to be done, but about what they have already accomplished, the fact that the task is doable, and that they are capable of it.” (Sparrow 1998)

(3) If you have a head full of happy memories, it’s hard not to feel like you have an amazing life.

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Laureate, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, explains that your brain consistently remembers only two things about an event: the emotional peak and the ending. We rely on this “peak-end” rule to summarize our experiences. Our brains are not perfect computers, so you can make your experiences more memorable by ending happy times or tough challenges with “a little celebration.”

Focused attention

Three decades of research by the world’s leading expert on happiness, challenges the present thinking of the causes and consequences of happiness. In his book Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, the author Robert Biswas-Diener states “ The key component to effective savouring is focused attention. By taking the time and spending the effort to appreciate the positive, people are able to experience more well-being.

Blogger Eric Barking (Barking up the Wrong Tree) notes that gratitude and savouring have both been found to be powerful happiness boosters and you don’t have to get out of bed to engage in them. It’s all about where you put your attention.

Just capturing these moments by cherishing a photo or choosing to briefly write about it can be one simple way of “celebrating” an experience.

So let’s help our children celebrate their lives year by year as they go through their childhood heres. It doesn’t require a great deal of time, rather a hour or less of reflection once a year.

(Photo courtesy of


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