Usually, the term “storytelling” refers to the act of telling or writing stories. They are usually used to entertain and attract readers or listeners. Storytelling can also have a profound effect on mental health. We are storytellers whenever we tell our family members about an unpleasant market experience. This essay discusses the importance of storytelling and the benefits of sharing mental health experiences.
Benefits Of Storytelling On Mental Health
Telling stories has positive benefits for your brain. When we share tales, listen to stories, and tell them, we are contributing to our mental health.
1. Enhances listening skills and fosters imagination
It is a valuable social skill to become an active listener by concentrating on your body and paying attention to the story. Moreover, reading books can improve your brain’s health and fitness. A good imagination can help people handle stressful events better. We become engrossed in the Hollywood version of the narrative when we watch a scary movie. The director, writer, costume designer, production crew, and others create a world for us to inhabit.
2. Increases Empathy & Memory Retention
Our brain releases oxytocin when we empathize with the characters of a story. The hormone is linked to empathy, a key component that helps us connect with others and strengthen our connections. Telling stories enhances empathy and also improves memory, which is another benefit we gain from it. Jennifer Aaker, a marketing professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, says people remember statistics when they are woven into stories “up to 22 times more than facts alone.”
3. Increases Positive Emotions
The stories we tell can lift our moods and influence our self-perception, according to current positive psychology studies. The change in mood and outlook is not a trivial matter. We can overcome challenges and conquer obstacles when we feel positive emotions and optimistic.
Children in intensive care who participated in one storytelling session experienced increases in oxytocin levels, improvements in cortisol levels and pain, and positive changes in their emotions.
4. Helps Us Engage With Others
It is common for speakers to use a variety of techniques to captivate their listeners. Scientists who wish to communicate better with the general public are using stories. It could mean teaching more about how their work and processes came about, communicating facts and details more intimately, or telling research stories that connect with their audience more effectively.
5. Helps Us Build From Success and Failure
In a study of adolescents’ perseverance and academic success, researchers found that a new narrative could motivate them positively, which could have a beneficial effect. When people hear success stories, they can remember how they succeeded in achieving their goals, which can boost their self-esteem and motivate them to keep striving for success.
When presented with a different approach, they can also help individuals be grateful for their efforts, give themselves credit for overcoming obstacles, and realize that they will be better prepared for future challenges.
6. The Link Between Storytelling and Mental Health
Annie Brewster, an internist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, founded the Health Story Collaborative. Trauma and other physical and mental health problems can be dealt with by the nonprofit.
In addition, she planned to establish an online platform for sharing stories and, in turn, transform healthcare through storytelling.
Tips On Storytelling
When telling stories, you must keep these suggestions in mind:
- Be enthusiastic. Storytelling is most effective when you are enthusiastic about the topic.
- Smile and keep smiling. When you tell a story, keep smiling. People will hear your expression and voice more than anything else.
- Make it short. Keep your stories short and concise. The goal is to convey your message. Long stories may detract from the story’s purpose and become dull.
- Details are important. Incorporating details into an article will make it more interactive and engaging.
- Be emotive. Storytelling is a form of imagination. Be active emotionally and talk about your emotions. Facts do not make a good story – emotions do.
- Make it entertaining. Tell an entertaining story. The art of storytelling is telling an intriguing story, not necessarily what you’re telling. Any story can be captivating when it is well conveyed.
Transforming Your Story
A narrative therapist assists people in overcoming negative stories in their lives. As a result, they take on the events of their lives and discover new stories by challenging negative beliefs and expanding their perspectives. When you gain a better understanding of your mental well-being and see things differently, you will have new and healthier perspectives for the future.
If your brother was your top pick as a kid, you may be bitter and angry. You could also accept your parents’ forgiveness. You might argue that it was cultural.
It helps us to make sense of and arrange the events of our lives into a cohesive story and immerse ourselves in others’ stories, which improves our mental health and overall well-being.
Storytelling And Mental Healthcare Treatment
There are numerous ways in which storytelling can benefit mental health care. Psychodrama, drama therapy, and playback theater, among others, use storytelling as an element of treatment for mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. Reminiscence therapy, which is offered to those suffering from memory impairments such as dementia, includes storytelling as a major component.