Did You Know Recalling Happy Memories Can Reduce Your Stress Level?

Danica Burke
2 min readApr 5, 2022
Picture by xuanduongvan87 on Pixabay

Have you ever used positive memories to calm yourself?

I use positive memories to calm myself and find encouragement when needed.

Example for stress

Occasionally I get migraines. When this happens, I often need to rest in a dark room and try to sleep. For as long as I can remember, my coping strategy has been to recall a memory that makes me feel calm and at peace. Frequently these memories will include childhood memories at my grandparent’s house.

These memories calm me and I’m usually able to sleep.

Example for stress and encouragement

When I feel overwhelmed or that a task is bigger than me, I use different positive memories. I recall experiences with one of my bosses or mentors. I recall times when they demonstrated confidence in me through their words and actions.

These memories reduce my self-doubt and calm me.

Research finds mental and physical benefits to recalling positive memories

Scientists found that during times of stress, recalling positive memories can reduce stress and lower cortisol levels.

Recalling happy memories produces positive feelings and gives us a sense of well-being. It allows us to mentally shift from feelings of anxiety and stress to feelings of calm and happiness.

Recalling happy memories also reduces the rise in cortisol levels. When we experience stress, our body reacts and our cortisol levels rise. However, research shows recalling happy memories lowers our physical response to stress as well as our cortisol levels.

Next time you feel stressed, try recalling a happy memory

  • Find a quiet place
  • Close your eyes and slow your breathing
  • Recall a memory that brings you happiness and peace
  • Spend several minutes recalling every detail you can about that memory including, feelings, sounds, and smells

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Danica Burke

M.Ed., Ed.S. |Coach| Writer| Autoimmune Disease Warrior