Share Your Stories

Stories uncover universal truths and unlock growth for individuals and businesses. They illuminate the process of change and transformation — the barriers, the undercurrents, and the break-throughs — to help us navigate the “riptides” that are inevitable when chartering the unknown waters of change.

Please share your stories about healthy transformations . . . in our personal quests for wellness . . . in our work inspiring others to live healthier lives . . . and in bringing innovation to brands and businesses.

9 thoughts on “Share Your Stories

  1. I have written a story about my own health outcome. My memoir, My Lost Summer, available through Amazon.com and your local bookstore, is about my recovery from a coma when I was a teen. 22 days in ICU. I was unable to talk, walk, etc. upon gaining consciousness. The larger story is full of smaller stories, many about how people fail to communicate with ME, assuming I’m “out of it” even after I’d gained consciousness.

    For example, I write about a time where I am on my knees on a padded, low table with my physical therapist. She starts knocking me around, pushing my shoulders, my chest, with no explanation why, and I keep righting myself, struggling not to fall over. Back in my room I get across to Mom that my therapist is abusing me. Mom explains that she was strengthening my core. If only my therapist would have told me! Communication is important! This was 1983. I hope things have improved since then.

    You can get My Lost Summer by Elizabeth Evans Fryer through your local bookstore. Or order it online:
    http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Summer-Elizabeth-Evans-Fryer/dp/1411662962/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1375382789&sr=8-2&keywords=my+lost+summer

    or

    http://www.lulu.com/shop/elizabeth-evans-fryer/my-lost-summer/ebook/product-17544198.html

    • Elizabeth – This is a very moving story that gets to the heart of the emotional side of health. Your memoir sounds fascinating and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing your story and the link to your book.

      • A woman picked my book up at an airport bookstore. Her brother is recovering from a coma. This is part of her review on my book’s Amazon.com page:

        “This book helped me feel less alone as I dealt with feelings of fear, hope, sadness and frustration. The complexity of the injury and its implications are really difficult to grasp. I was thankful to have found a narrative to help me cope.”

        This comment is from years ago. Of course, I knew my story was a powerful one to tell, but not until I learned of your mission of promoting storytelling to further health communications did I reread the comment and realize the author of it basically said “Your story helped me cope with these feelings.” It all comes down to storytelling.

        • Columbia University has a program in Narrative Medicine where they are studying the healing power of stories and teaching doctors and nurses to use stories in patient care. Storytelling offers many layers of opportunity in healthcare.

  2. Jean – Thank you for providing the space to share some stories…I’m thinking about all of the brand stories I’ve heard related to my work in consumer insights/branding, particularly those related to food, local/simple food sourcing trends, and health & wellness. One thing I’ve learned along the way is that if a product – a nutrition bar, a fruit juice, a rice cake, etc. – does not provide a story as to its source, the people behind the product/company, and the rational/irrational reasons why you need this product in your life, consumers will make one up for themselves. If the made up story aligns with the vision the food company has for its product, well, then they’re in luck, however, oftentimes, it does not. When the consumer articulated stories take on a theme that is somehow disadvantageous to the brand, then it’s much more difficult for companies to change the narrative to their preferred storyline. In our daily lives and personal interactions, it’s not so very different. We may witness an event taking place on tv, in our community or across the fence in our backyards — if we don’t have the whole story, we start creating some meaning out of what we have seen, heard and felt. The meaning we have created may or may not be representative of the actual experience. Creating or positioning the preferred storyline while staying tuned into the stories the consumers are making up for themselves seems to be the most successful brand positioning approach that I have witnessed.

  3. Thanks so much for this great idea Jean! Communicating through stories is such a great way to connect on a deeper level and make a lasting emotional impression on a person, whether for a brand or for a health outcome. When I lived in China, I found the folks in my expat community had a much “stiffer upper lip” than me (as a tell-it-like-is Brooklynite) and it was so important for me to tell my story so others could relate. I really struggled there with my wellness, from weight gain and inflammation to depression, and once I was able to tell people about it, I felt so much better and so did they. A lot could relate even if they didn’t want to share. I also was able to share some solutions I found to help me – from resources for pollution-free produce to places to exercise to 12 step meetings – and hopefully these stories and resources helped others. When we hear others stories, we don’t feel so alone. Can’t wait to hear more from Storlietelling!

  4. Cheryl — Great example of a very simple story that you slotted into your counseling to show “who you are,” make yourself human, and convey a practical solution in a genuine way. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you, Jean, for your refreshing perspective on using stories to break down barriers and relate to each other. Just today, a client shared her frustrations that at this stage in her life she forgets to eat. The idea of having to be reminded to eat throughout the day really bothered her. So I shared that I recently started setting a timer when I am writing so that I am sure to get up every 30 minutes to move and stretch. I hope hearing my little story helped her to know that there is nothing wrong with needing reminders. We all need systems in place to help us get and stay on track with our health goals.

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