The art of storytelling has been a respected skill and tradition in many cultures. Over history, elders and their stories have been regarded as a treasure trove of society. Older members of the community were encouraged to share stories with younger generations, keeping the oral tradition live. Medical and social science researchers are interested in the importance of storytelling as means of entertainment and teaching. Learn more about how it may enhance wellbeing.
Benefits of Storytelling
There have been studies looking at the ability to tell compelling stories. There have been others that look at therapeutic benefits of storytelling. Most interesting is the growing number of people with dementia benefiting from participation in group-based community storytelling. This is used in treatment of other mental health concerns like depression. Too often, people can pick up the phone to talk to someone and not think about what to say. Giving the brain a workout is good because it refines the art of telling stories in a succinct and compelling way. Not in a presentation style, but just in a manner where people can really hear you speak clearly and get your point across.
Tips to Get Started
Wellbeing enhancement comes in many shapes and forms. Some people may not believe how much storytelling can be positive for people but it has many great benefits. These tips are just a few to get started:
- Look at performances where you use energy and enthusiasm to tell a story. Get passionate and silly
- A person who smiles can be heard for miles. When a person smiles, subtle intonations in voice change. If you are smiling, kyou choose different words and bring more positive energy
- Practice taking one story every morning that will be your story for the day. When someone calls or comes over, you will be ready with your story. Be excited to tell it. Let the listener listen to you and be someone who maybe is used to hearing your stories and is willing to sit while you practice
- Make it short and simple. Keep practicing how to share your story and make it funny, charming, sweet, or other things which might inject a different way of thinking into the story. It shows growth if you can laugh at some of the challenging parts of your story (when you are ready) and also be sentimental and look at the hard stuff with a clear lens
- Pay attention and note details of your day in a notebook. Write down emotions and thoughts and feelings. Don’t overthink it, just write down what happens and use it as material in a story
- Don’t think because it is your story it is not interesting. Anything is interesting if you tell it the right way. Storytelling is more about how you tell something than about what you are telling
The compelling aspects of telling stories come from understanding what your story means to you and how to convey that to others. It might be just for personal use, not to tell on a stage but at least you have some way of compiling stories to start sharing with family and friends. It can be very therapeutic to walk through your story, do some theatre, work with a therapist, or use creative means to tell your story. Try different ways and don’t give up because it is hard. It will get better and you will learn how to accept it as your personal story and your life, which is therapeutic in itself.
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