Storytelling – Why Share Stories
Everyone has a story to tell, and it turns out that telling a story — sharing it with others — produces benefits in all sorts of ways.
A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found social engagement, which is what storytelling is, could have as much effect on prolonging life as fitness activities.
Benefits of Sharing Stories
Informal (simply reminiscing) or formal (an interview) life review offers a number of benefits for both young and old:
- It creates a sense of continuity, linking the past with the present and the future.
- It enables younger people to find out interesting things about their family members or members of their community, as well as the broader historical past.
- It’s a way to pass on family stories and traditions and preserve family history and cultural heritage.
- It builds self-esteem in those doing the telling and those doing the listening.
- It helps young people develop research, interviewing and listening skills.
- It gives older people an opportunity to reflect on and assess their life achievements as well as disappointments, gain perspective on their lives and figure out what kind of legacy they will leave behind.
- It combats the isolation and sense of loss that may come with growing older.
- It helps older people resolve conflicts and fears and gives younger people a model for facing their own life challenges.
- It promotes intergenerational interaction and understanding.