Whether it’s a book of fairy tales, a news report, or an office joke, story is something we experience daily. Telling stories is one of the main ways we communicate with each other. Beyond being entertaining or informative, storytelling is important to us in many other ways. Here are just a few:
Catharsis is a release of strong or repressed emotions, resulting in a form of relief. You heard that right, talking about yourself can be good for your health! This renewal doesn’t come from simply being self-absorbed however. Being able to express oneself on a deeper level brings release and clarity to experiences and emotions that impact how we think and feel subconsciously. Telling your story well is essentially a form of psychotherapy.
Searching out your own story grounds you by building a foundation. Knowing where you came from creates perspective of where you are going and answers the life questions of “Who am I?” and “How did I get here?” Your story is also a key element in forming the identity of others, including those you currently interact with and future generations.
The ability to communicate one’s heart and mind is important both personally and interpersonally. Many find it difficult to simply talk, yet even the most silent of us have something to say about a topic we care for. Someone who is shy or doesn’t offer opinions suddenly comes to life if asked the right question. Art and writing are often used to achieve deeper communication. Some people need a little guidance to feel able to share. Narrating a photo album can lend inspiration as well as structure to a story. For tactile people, walking someone through an experience or process is the ideal format of communication. Try many methods and be creative with your strengths!
Sometimes it is helpful to tell your story to yourself, but more often than not stories are told to someone else. Sharing a story invites others into an experience. We connect as humans through emotion, imagination and inspiration. A story can impart wisdom and knowledge, humor and empathy, and a multitude of other attributes. Your story imparts something just as valuable– you!
Even just a few benefits of storytelling show it as a wise skill to cultivate. The benefits work together, maturing and renewing who we are. Developing the ability to communicate well can be easy or difficult. However, the key to finding and refining one’s voice lies in identifying what is important and a way to use unique strengths to share your story.