Look After Your Mind – Memory
Boards and Word Clouds
I first became interested in collecting badges as a child. One of my earliest dates from the mid-1960s and conferred on me the status of ‘TV21 Special Agent’. TV21 was a popular comic at the time. Like its predecessor Eagle, featuring comic strip stories and non-fiction articles about science, spaceflight and more.
Other badges came along over the years and I started pinning them to a felt board on the wall in front of the desk at work. As I look at it now I see badges from places I’ve visited, organisations I’ve supported, and TV series and films I’ve enjoyed. One of my favourite badges is in a box, on the lid of which is the message ‘For the man who has everything’. When I saw it in the shop window I couldn’t resist going in, but I had to buy the item to open the box. Inside was a badge which says ‘I’ve got everything’.
As well as badges my memory board now features much more. Stickers, quotes, key fobs and small ornaments. Theatre, cinema and event tickets. Pictures that I find uplifting and soothing, such as of loved ones. It’s a colourful chaotic jumble. Every time I look at it I feel more positive, while picking out particular items triggers its associated fond memory.
I recommend creating a memory board for the reasons I’ve mentioned. Also because it can take our minds off any negative thoughts that might otherwise intrude. Thoughts and feelings are connected, so by deliberately focussing our thoughts on the positive, it’s more likely that pleasant, positive feelings will come to the fore. Also, if you place the memory board where you can see it often, it develops into what’s called a positive visual anchor. A visual display that develops an increasingly powerful link to the emotions it evokes. Finally, a memory board is cheap, easy and fun to build over time.
A similar idea is the word ‘cloud’. This is a cluster of words of different sizes related to a particular topic or theme. The larger the word, the more significant it is and the more often it’s mentioned in the general text. If you have a computer, you can write positive messages to yourself or others. You can then upload them to one of the many free word cloud generators you can find online. The ones I’ve looked at allow you to choose font size, colour and orientation of the words. You can then print off the result as a poster.
If you don’t have a computer, then words can be drawn, coloured in and pasted on to a backing sheet. This is a great activity to do with children. Another way of using simple resources, and in the case of memory boards, our past experiences, to help look after your mind.
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