Experts agree that hanging on to those summertime memories can brighten up your day.
We dream all year of slow, sun-soaked months full of laughter, good food and outdoor adventures. We asked our readers to share their favorite summer memories, and here’s what you had to say.
Being a Kid
As a kid, summer always had no bedtimes so I could play outdoors later. The neighbor kids and I played basketball by the streetlight or baseball in the street. A great bond with all the kids…girls or boys. It didn’t matter, we had fun!—Carla T.
We would play until sundown and drink out of the hose if we were thirsty. We played hopscotch, freeze tag, played in the sprinklers, anything we could think of! Being from Arizona, we didn’t care if the sidewalk was hot. We just loved being outside with our friends.— Keren M.
Our Favorite Watering Hole
I would lie in a hammock reading a Beverly Cleary book and listening to water lapping against the lakeshore.—Margaret G.
I remember going to the pool day in and day out. Hot weather, cloudy weather, humid weather; I lived at the neighborhood pool in the summertime.—Jessie N.
The Great Outdoors
Swinging on our tire swing from our big oak tree with our neighborhood friends while listening to the crickets, and waiting for the ice cream man.—Jean V.
Catching pollywogs and minnows in our irrigation drainage ditches.—Sharon N.
Running around playing in that soft and breezy evening air that feels like a light-touch massage on your sun-kissed skin as those long summer days melt into nighttime.—Lauren S.
Cookouts and Campfires
Cookouts and roasting marshmallows over the fire and running barefoot and catching fireflies. Days spent on the water, reading in the hammock by the water, new friends and late-night jam sessions and…and…and…I love summer!—Katherine E.
Camping takes the cake hands down. We always go with a big group, and there are so many things to do: swimming, rafting, playing cards or just hanging out around the campfire and gazing at the stars all night. The nature of being with friends and family outdoors in a different environment, sharing and caring for one another is what I love.—Markus D.
Here’s what the experts have to say:
“When you think back to a past experience, your brain does something called ‘mental time travel.’ It reactivates the details of that experience, allowing you to revisit the past, in a sense. The brain is also full of circuits designed to hang on to recent thoughts, memories and impressions. So, if you think back to a happy memory, those positive details get reactivated and can stick around, infusing whatever you do next with that happy mood.” —Sean Polyn is an assistant professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University, where he runs the Vanderbilt Computational Memory Lab.