I’m a fan of a good story which is good considering they make up about 65% of our conversations. I love meeting with friends. It lifts the spirits to share stories and reminisce the embarrassing adolescent years (among other things). Our narratives can be about any aspect of life: tales of running, adventure, friendship, parenting, the list is endless. Books and films are welcome too and over the past months I’ve certainly made good use of my library membership. I like the welcome escapism offered by a good story too, when another world preoccupies my mind and for that moment, becomes my own. My favourite stories have to be family tales. Stories that weave their way through generations like a thread, linking past family members to the present.
One of my favourite stories involves my gran talking to a man at a local veg table, off the main road. He learnt she lived in a small Cornish fishing village. He told her how his first call out as a GP was to that very village, to a young woman in labour. She nearly died and he never knew what happened to her. He asked my gran if there was any chance she knew what had happened, despite it being about 50 years ago. It’s my gran’s words, “that was me” that makes my skin tingle. For a moment, this story makes me believe in fate. It feels like they were meant to meet again.
The stories we hear and take in become an integral part of who we are. They cement friendships, relationships, and our identity. Stories also offer some grounding regarding where we’ve come from, and where we may go. The words used to tell a story is important, but it’s also the shared experience and joining with another that makes it special. Life would be empty and much less colourful without stories and discourse.
What’s really amazing is how story telling can influence our brains; it literally starts firing on all cylinders. Logically, this makes sense. Stories transport us to an experience. Emotions are triggered, thoughts come and go, and we picture what we’re being told so our imaginations are firing on all cylinders. Stories also help us understand events and situations with clarity, and lets face it, we’re more likely to learn from narratives and life-like examples compared to boring, dry power point presentations.
The benefits of storytelling is well researched. Stories help language development and reading skills (obv.), and encourages the connection between words and emotions, especially empathy. They bring closeness and excitement, as well as mutual joyful experience. Stories can be healing too. They offer alternative endings to difficult narratives, giving can give them a healing , as well as allowing us to explore our wishes and feelings in a safe way.
There are so many benefits to storytelling and sharing our own narratives. It promotes creativity alongside connection, motivation and relationships. What are your favourite stories to tell or listen to?