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How To Tell Good Stories to Strengthen Relationships and Exercise Your Brain


Updated February 20, 2007

Too often we just pick up the phone to talk with someone without thinking of what we have to say. Give your brain a workout and strengthen your relationships by planning out a story everyday. Storytelling is even being used as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Your brain will benefit from the daily exercise of creating an excellent story to share with the people in your world. Most of all, be excited. A good story will leave people looking forward to talking with you and sharing their stories, too.

Here are a few storytelling tips for mental fitness, better relationships, and healthy brain aging:

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 10 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Get excited

    Storytelling is a performance and you need energy and enthusiasm to tell a good story. Get passionate, even if it seems silly.

  2. Smile

    You can hear a person smiling. When a person tells a story with a smile on their face, subtle intonations in voice change. If you are smiling, you will choose different words. Remember, storytelling is entertainment -- it should be fun.

  3. Practice

    Pick one story every morning that will be your story for the day. When someone calls or comes over -- you will be ready with your story. Be so excited to tell it that you are just bursting. Your listener will look forward to visiting with you and hearing your stories.

  4. Make it Short

    Stories can go on and on -- keep yours short and punchy. A good story does not have to be long.

  5. Lots of Details

    Pay attention during your day or while remembering an event from the past. Include details like the clothes people wore, how they moved, and what things felt like. Don't say "She seemed upset" say "She had fire coming out of her eyes." Liven things up with detail and description.

  6. Use Emotions

    Don't just stick to the facts, they are usually pretty boring -- tell the emotions you were feeling. Talk about why you felt that way, what memories it brought back. Emotions are always interesting subjects.

  7. Have Characters

    The check-out person, the mailman, the plumber -- all can become characters in your story. Learn to notice and appreciate the wonderful quirks that everyone has. Describe these people, thinking about what they must have been thinking.

  8. Don't Think It Isn't Interesting

    Anything can be interesting if it is well told. Don't worry that no great drama has happened to you lately -- storytelling is more about how you tell something than what you are telling.

    More Ways to Improve Your Mental Fitness

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