How to Change Your Mood: The Power of a Memory

As a Social Worker, much of my work history involved helping the senior adult population. This included interacting with their children and grandchildren. I tried to reinforce the power of positive memories as a tool to enhance relationships, tap into their loved one’s world, or alter an unpleasant mood. Focusing on a positive memory can change a person’s day. It can change your day, too.

The topic of positive memories came to me as I crawled out of bed this morning. Today is the first day of The Great Darke County fair. It wasn’t long after I woke up that memories from my childhood bombarded me. I’ll venture to say most folks in my county felt the same way.

When I was a kid, Mom would come home from work on the first Friday of the fair and hold up a crisp $50 bill. My brother and would bounce around the house. Aside from Christmas, the fair was THE best time of year.

After a night of no sleep, we’d get up before dawn, eat a big breakfast and then go pick up Grandma in our boat-sized Oldsmobile. Mom would drive to the county seat, park outside the fairgrounds in a lot near a fruit market, and we’d walk the rest of the way. Mom wouldn’t allow any rides, games, or junk food until after lunch; instead, we had to tour the vendor barn, the animal barns, and 4-H buildings. When I was very young, Grandma fixed a picnic lunch. We ate fried chicken while sitting in the grass, watching the carnival workers fire up the rides. Mom bought my brother and I wrist bands so we could ride until we were exhausted. Then, she would assist in helping us win a wooden cane each. Usually the only game we played. Our day ended at the salt water taffy booth.

The memories are burned in my mind, pulling the best and most visual images from several years into one fantastic conglomeration of strong positive emotion. This emotion has the power to change negative emotions in the here and now and remind us who we are and what we value.

Give it a try. What is one of your favorite positive memories? Dwell on it for a few minutes. What do you hear, what do you see, what do you smell, what do you taste?

Oops. I should’ve stayed away from taste. Now, I’m craving sugar waffles. Guess where I’ll be this weekend? Church at the fairgrounds, lunch at the chicken barbecue pit, and sugar waffles for the ride home. Cannot wait.

Does your community embrace the fair? Do you enjoy it? What’s your favorite part?

Mel with her hens and rooster named Larry–2004

Here’s a picture of Mel when she was nine or ten. She won first place for Pen of Three Hens. Ask her how to check the size of a hen’s egg sack. She can tell you. She’d also probably tell you she’d prefer it if I’d show her first place win in the art competition, but you all know she can draw.

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2 thoughts on “How to Change Your Mood: The Power of a Memory”

  1. When I was a kid and my family lived in the Miami area, we used to go to the Miami-Dade County fair every year. We would enter crafts and artwork and always hit those huge barns before we headed for the rides. We never did the games but there were 5 of us kids so we only got so many rides anyway. It was a huge fair and had, not only the usual carnival rides, but even the one like a ski-lift that snaked above everyone’s heads. And a massive Ferris wheel. There was a lady my family adopted while her husband was deployed to Saudi Arabia (this was back during Desert Storm). We adored her and she frequently had my sisters and I over for sleepovers. I remember her going with us one year, and her playing with my long hair as we stood in line for rides.

    Once we moved, the fair didn’t seem to be as big of a deal and we usually missed it because we wouldn’t even know when it was happening. When Alora was little and we lived in Wyoming, we took her to the fair and I recall having a blast with her. She was too young for most rides but she rode the handful for ittybittys and I remember playing one game (my first and only time!) with rubber ducks floating around and the colors/numbers on their bottoms correlated to prizes. Now we’re back in the Fl panhandle again and again, no idea when the fair happens. But I need to make more of an effort. It’d be nice to give Alora some of those memories before she finishes growing up!


    1. What a great memory. Even if it isn’t the fair, I’m sure you’re creating fun and memorable traditions for your daughter.


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