What makes stories so powerful?

posted February 27, 2015 at 12:00 am
by The Standard

There is no doubt about the power of stories. Newspapers like us have proven that time and again. But what makes them so powerful? Here’s a quick rundown, according to Psychology Today.

* Stories are how we are wired. Stores take place in the imagination. Studies show that within the human’s brain, the processing of imagined experiences are exactly the same as real experiences. Stories create genuine emotions, presence (the sense of being somewhere), and behavioral responses as real life.

* Stories engage our right brain and trigger our imagination. When this happens, we become participants in the narrative. We walk in other people’s shoes, so to speak, see differently, and increase our empathy for others. This allows us to tap into creativity that is the foundation of innovation, self-discovery and change.

* We think in stories. They are how we make meaning of life. Call them schemas, scripts, cognitive maps, mental models, metaphors, or narratives. Stories are how we explain how things work, how we make decisions, how we justify our decisions, how we persuade others, how we understand our place in the world, create our identities, and define and teach social values.

* Stories provide order. Humans seek certainty and narrative structure is familiar, predictable, and comforting. Within the context of the story arc we can withstand intense emotions because we know that resolution follows the conflict. We can experience with a safety net.

* Stories have always been a primal form of communication. They are timeless links to ancient traditions, legends, archetypes, myths, and symbols. They connect us to a larger self and universal truths.

* Stories are about collaboration and connection. They transcend generations, they engage us through emotions, and they connect us to others. Through stories we share passions, sadness, hardships and joys. We share meaning and purpose. Stories are the common ground that allows people to communicate, overcoming our defenses and our differences. Stories allow us to understand ourselves better and to find our commonality with others.

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