Reflecting on our milestones is something we all might take more seriously. In fact, a new study has found that recalling certain types of memories can increase self-esteem. In the research, 300 participants spent several minutes reflecting on a memory from categories such as identity, bitterness and problem solving. Afterward, they took stock of their well-being and if they felt positive or negative emotions.
Of those categories, just two types of memories had positive effects: moments where identity was shaped and moments where challenges were overcome. In these cases, people reported upticks in self-esteem. They even had a higher confidence in their ability to overcome challenges.
Researchers said those reflecting on identity moments, like Beyoncé becoming a mother of twins, saw a boost in positive emotions. This recall could also “increase perceptions of meaning and purpose in life,” write the study’s authors, David John Hallford and David Mellor of Deakin University.
Those remembering times they solved problems or overcame challenges, such as Beyoncé’s barrier-breaking performance as the the first black woman to headline Coachella, experienced a decrease in negative emotions.
These moments — ones of accomplishment or growth — don’t just boost identity because they’re among the most positive in our lives. Researchers say these memories have special impact since they connect to key themes such as resilience and exploration.
This wasn’t the first time this year Beyoncé reflected on how she’s grown and changed. The entertainer, who gives few interviews, took the special step of penning an essay for Vogue this past September. In it, the singer shared how birth has changed the way she thinks about beauty and confidence.
“I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing into confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her,” she said. “I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful.”
In her birthday letter, Beyoncé says she’ll continue the healthy habit of reflecting on the past.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to learn from my past, living in the present and surrendering to the future,” she wrote.
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