When you get together with friends or family, do their stories make you laugh, smile, or cry?
Stories bind us together and make life enjoyable. Albert Einstein said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.”
What do political campaigns, podcasts, and advertising all have in common? All of them leverage the power of storytelling.
Here are four interesting facts about storytelling: humanity’s most incredible and powerful tool.
1. Stories cause your brain to release positive neurochemicals
Storytelling is an excellent way to forge relationships. A group of UK researchers discovered that listening to stories caused people to produce oxytocin, a neurochemical linked to feelings of love and empathy.
The quickest way to connect with a stranger is to share a personal story. The more oxytocin is released, the more we internalize that story. When we listen to someone else's experience, we also live it. Why else do we treat our favorite fictional characters like real people?
2. All of us are storytellers
Storytelling is in humanity’s DNA and found in every culture. The delivery mechanisms have changed over the millennia, from the Epic of Gilgamesh etched onto clay tablets to the oral traditions of the ancient Greeks, the printed word, and digital technology. However, our desire to tell our stories and to connect with others has remained constant.
What did you and your friend talk about today? Storytelling accounts for 65% of our daily conversations. Most of your discussions involve a fun gym experience, interaction with coworkers, and vacations. Our minds tell stories even at night when dreaming.
3. The majority of Hollywood films have the same basic plot
The "hero's journey" is a narrative structure in most popular movies. Scientists believe this story form is profoundly ingrained in our collective consciousness and may have been a tool for our forebears to foster morality and trust.
The hero's journey is a popular narrative archetype or story template. The protagonist embarks on an adventure, learns a lesson, triumphs with that knowledge, and ultimately transforms before returning home.
This can directly be applied to real life, as well. You are the hero in your journey through life. What stories can you share about the challenges you have overcome and how you have grown, such as the lessons you have learned, where your journey has taken you, etc.?
4. Storytelling is timeless
Storytelling predates human language. The earliest humans shared information and made sense of their world via storytelling. You may find instances of this old-fashioned method of communication in the Lascaux caves. The early Homo sapiens who lived there used murals to tell stories.
The earliest story ever recorded was penned in 3,400 BCE! The "Epic of Gilgamesh," an adventure-filled narrative about a monarch named Gilgamesh, described as a one-third man and two-thirds deity, is the oldest known work of literature. As told throughout twelve clay tablets, he embarks on a conventional hero's journey, killing monsters, mingling with the gods, and looking for the secret of immortality.
Gilgamesh mentions a great flood that is considered to be the antecedent of the story of Noah’s Ark. Similar stories exist in Indian and Aztec cultures.
Even variations of the Cinderella story have been retold hundreds of times throughout history!
Storytelling on My Stories Matter
Experience these four facts of storytelling by writing your own! Share the stories of your hero's journey through life on My Stories Matter, or be inspired by the stories from your family, friends, and other members!
Relive your time spent traveling abroad or visiting your grandparents. Share your reflections about a foreign culture or a life lesson you learned. My Stories Matter keeps all your cherished memories safe and accessible.
What memories and wisdom do you want to pass on to future generations? Relive your time spent traveling abroad or visiting your grandparents. Share your reflections about a foreign culture or a life lesson you learned. My Stories Matter keeps all your cherished memories safe and accessible.
Share your stories with the meaningful people in your life. Use our unique collaboration feature to co-write a shared memory and capture their perspectives or fill in any missing gaps. The storytelling never ends!
Preserve the stories of the people, events, and experiences that shaped who you are. By revisiting the past, you can discover more about yourself.
Sign up for free today and start storytelling!