How can birthday celebrations be made more memorable in the long-term?
In the short-term, there's likely cake to be enjoyed, family and friends to enjoy and gifts to be opened.
But what's the positive impact in the long-term?
The delightful book, The Art of Making Memories by Meik Wiking, helps answer this question. (The book is a quick and easy read with fun illustrations. It also makes for a lovely birthday gift or hostess gift.)
Drawing upon findings at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, where the author also serves as CEO, they found that:
Individuals who have a positive, nostalgic view of the past are happier. Stop and let that sink in.
People who have fond memories of the past are happier. I love this finding because it means happiness is accessible to EVERYONE, regardless of whether they have great health, love their job or just won the lottery.
Given that life can sometimes be challenging, I always look for ways to be happier. So how do we reverse-engineer more memorable moments in the present?
As a parent, I'm always looking for ways to help my children grow into happy, well-adjusted, successful members of society. What specific things can parents do to architect more positive experiences for our kids?
3 Tips for Making Memories You Can Put Into Practice, for Yourself or With Your Family
1. First-time experiences have greater impact
Our brains value novelty, and as a result, put more emphasis on our first time trying something. (I’m guessing you can recall your first kiss. But your second one? Probably not.) For your next birthday celebration, try something completely new.
Take the family roller skating; go out for a surprise birthday breakfast or treat yourself to a massage. The first-time aspect will make it more memorable for all.
- Look around at all the faces next to you.
- Listen to how the different voices blend together…or not.
- As the candles are blown out on the birthday cake, can you smell them?
- When you’re eating a slice of birthday cake, notice the texture of the cake in your mouth.
- Pay attention the creaminess of the frosting.
- Consider the weight of the fork in your hand and the heft of the plate.
Noticing the individual sensations of the experience can make for a much richer memory.
While we all have things about our past we'd like to change, it's empowering to know we can positively influence our future memories AND be happier along as a result.