This year has just rushed by, hasn’t it? It seems like only yesterday that it was January, and a whole year was ahead of us!
We hope that you have made the most of 2023 – and enjoyed the stories we have brought to you in the pages of Storytime. (Don’t be afraid to let us know how we could do better, though. We love it when you answer our yearly reader’s survey!)
When the New Year comes around, we often think of resolutions that we hope to follow. We’re sure you have some in mind already. The problem is, change can be difficult, and we’ve all failed to live up to our own expectations at some time or other. But a team of scientists at the University of Chapel Hill in the United States may have found a way of making effective change in our lives by harnessing the power of stories.
The researchers focussed on the idea of the ‘hero’s journey’, a concept developed by Professor Joseph Campbell. In his study of the world’s myths and legends, he noticed that the main characters often went through the same stages in their quests.
How can we use Campbell’s ideas to shape our own lives? If you think about it, you are writing a story every day. It’s the story of your life! Research indicates that people who think of their lives as a great ‘journey’ or ‘quest’ report feeling a greater sense of purpose and lower levels of depression!
While we do not have control over everything in our lives, we do have the ability to change how we look at ourselves, the world, and the difficulties we face. This is called ‘reframing’, and it can be a powerful and empowering tool. Storytelling helps us to do so with more ease, using elements of stories to guide us in writing a new narrative. So why not try reframing your life as a legendary tale? You could see the New Year as the beginning of a new chapter of your life story – and it’s a perfect time to embark on a quest to become your best self. We hope you will find it an inspiring journey.
Here are the seven things you need to turn your life into an epic quest…
1. A protagonist!
This is the main character in a story. In the story of your life, it has to be you! Think of all your qualities and strengths, and all the great skills that make you unique!
2. The shift!
Nothing stays the same forever, and we all have to deal with changes in our lives. Can you think of some big change that you have experienced? That could be your shift. Use that moment as the starting point of your adventure.
3. The quest!
What is a thing that you want to achieve to change your circumstances and grow? If you can’t think of a quest that you are currently on, why not come up with one now? Think of the future and something you would like to achieve.
Who will help you on your quest? It could be friends, family members, or even a loving pet! Make sure you surround yourself by people you love!
5. A Challenge!
What is the most difficult thing you are facing in your quest to improve your life? Which skill do you need to overcome it? Can you ask for help? Do you need courage or strength? Where can you find what you need?
Completing a great quest leaves a protagonist changed forever – they are no longer the person they were when it began! How would YOU like to be transformed? Who is the new you, after the challenge?
Once you have completed your quest, you will have something to pass on to those who follow you. What legacy would you want to leave for others? What have your learned that you can share? We hope you feel proud of yourself, like the hero and heroine of your own story. What is the great ending of this legend?
The beautiful thing about this exercise is that you can use it again and again in your life, whenever new challenges come in. And every time you can write new chapters, of the most beautiful story of all: your own!
Happy New Year to all our lovely readers and writers of legendary tales!