The Power of Stories
by Terry Small
We are all soft-wired to tell and respond to stories.
Phillip Pullman said, “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
He’s probably right. Stories are a powerful organizing tool for your brain’s neural network. A well-told, timely story can literally reshape the brain.
Stories give people a chance, not to see who they are, but who they might become. Narrative is powerful. Stories allow our brain to see the world differently. They give us hope. Neuroscientists are investigating the science of hope. It turns out that a feeling of hopefulness changes your brain.
The following article excerpt by Terry Small and published in Brain Bulletin #47: The Science of Hope attests to the power of Stories. To read the full article please visit: http://www.terrysmall.com/bb_47.asp.
The Science of Hope.
Hope is important for your brain.
Neuroscientists are investigating the science of hope. It turns out that a feeling of hopefulness changes your brain. Your brain pumps chemicals when experiencing the sensation of hope. These chemicals can block pain and accelerate healing.
Hope, which involves belief and expectation, causes the brain to release neurochemicals called endorphins and enkephalins which actually mimic the effects of morphine. The result is that the brain can overcome hurdles and move to a place of recovery. In scientific terms, hope and recovery are not causally connected, but they are correlated.
I believe hope is as vital to the brain as the oxygen we breathe.
Times are difficult these days. A feeling of hopefulness can make a real difference!
What do I do for my brain? I feed my brain stories that paint a clear picture of hope.
Stories are the #1 brain state changer on the planet! Stories do far more than entertain. Neuroscientists believe that our brains are wired for stories. Stories captivate the brain. They release emotions that are inextricably tied to those of the story’s characters. Brain scientists call this “narrative transport”.
I believe storytelling has become a casualty of our busy, hectic pace of life. Parents, leaders, teachers….everyone should tell more stories. Remember a story is not a story until it is told.
To read more about Terry Small’s work and some of the stories he finds particularly enjoyable, visit his website at: http://www.terrysmall.com/bb_47.asp.