By Anne Hilarius-Ford and Jeannde Ford
Before the advent of technology and long before books were written, storytelling was an intrinsic part of communication across generations.
How to use Storytelling
Across cultures and centuries, storytelling was an essential part of humanity and for a variety of purposes:
- for entertainment
- to share traditions
- share the tribe’s history
- to share wisdom with younger generations
It is still very much alive with ancient cultures across the world today.
I am not a natural storyteller but that is changing as I met Life Story Coach Jeannde Ford. Participating in her storytelling group though was a little daunting to start with as I doubted my ability and wondered what I could share. Not knowing where to start or where to go, I realized after a couple of minutes that I had shared a story! I could do it!
The Process of Storytelling
I could not find a topic during the brief preparation time we were given, but facing the challenge when it came to my turn, I felt my brain working and I started with one image, and as I spoke more images came up in my mind and the words flowed and I shared a story that was a reflection of life’s experiences.
With a lifetime as non-storyteller and experiencing it twice within a month, I was intrigued by the process. There is some research that shows storytelling is great for the brain and has anti-ageing qualities. Memory seems to improve, and moods and interpersonal relationships benefit from the creative aspect of storytelling.
How to do Storytelling
Storytelling doesn’t need to be involved. When engaging in it, get excited and smile! Even when speaking with someone over the phone, they can ‘hear’ you smile, your voice and energy levels change.
The story doesn’t have to be long; make it fun, engaging, and colourful. Describe what you have seen and experienced the previous day for example with details that paint a picture. Include how you felt witnessing what you are sharing, emotions are always interesting topics.
Any story can be interesting. Having had this recent experience of storytelling with Jeannde brought back a memory from when I was in grade 6. We had a great teacher. Every week we had to write an essay on a topic of our choice. I remember one topic. I was sitting at home, looking across the road and saw a bird hopping around on the pavement. That week’s essay was about that bird. Such was the experience, that about 59 years later, I still have the visual memory of where I was and looking at the bird and writing about what I saw and felt.
The Effects of Storytelling on Brain and Mood
The memory associated with this experience tells me storytelling has great power on creativity, memory, and brain health. All great for Healthy Ageing!
Research shares that storytelling can be used to treat mental health. Participants improved cognition as well as signs of depression. The creative process sharpens the brain and improves self-confidence as we successfully create something new.
Exploring Story with Jeannde
The sharing of our stories is a human motivation built into our DNA. We all first experienced this as children while our brains and physicality were developing. Perhaps you have a childhood memory when a fairy-tale or favourite children’s book was shared with you? Take a moment and reflect on that special time when you fell asleep while the images of that story danced in your head evoking pleasurable responses that stirred dreams of possibilities. Some may not have had that experience or cannot remember, all the more reason to rediscover the entrance into that childhood portal of story.
There is another piece to this remarkable shared journey of stories and that is the imagination. The imagination is at the heart of our ideas, dreams, and breakthroughs. It is where the unique energy of who we are lives and grows. As adults we have the capability of rebooting the imagination through storytelling which supports our overall well-being.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while the imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
The sharing of our stories is how we link our lives together as we move forward in our historical and personal narratives as well as future goals. The framework of story can be applied to diverse genres in many ways. For example, Jeannde coaches and mentors entrepreneurs who are in search of or want to connect more fully with their clients as they develop and nurture their message in support of their passion. Or with those seeking to speak their truth from the heart as they embrace their own personal empowerment. Or with others whose goal is to join with the building a tribe that honours relationships, courage, and enCOURAGEment.
The evolution of story and the process of sharing those stories spills over into all compartments of our lives as we continue to weave our narratives into life’s endless fabric of connectedness. Join with others in this movement and discover or rediscover who you are and who you are meant to be through story. All great for mental clarity and brain health as we age.
Co-author Jeannde’s information
Jeannde Ford – Remain inspired
Story Coach & Mentor
dancer-choreographer-movement specialist-holistic coach-bioArtist