Health Mental health Self-Help

Memory access

We might not realise but it’s so easy for our mind accessing back the memory that attached to our negative emotions.

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The route is possibly irresistible to some because we’ve been doing it since we learnt the bitterness feeling towards any unpleasant events. The more we go back to its loop, the deeper clutching hands we grasp onto them. We might think everybody else does that too. Well, most of them. There are methods we can train ourselves to avoid these ‘cliché’ memories we keep accessing.

Our childhood experiences transforming to memories determine a set of our attitudes and behaviours toward any future events while secretly constructing an iron wall around its castle. Through time, we become more intelligent in reading and enacting our surroundings to prevent any hurtful events creeping onto our back. We close our heart gate the longer we live. At this point, unpleasant memory actually helps us grow and prevent us from getting hurt again, serving as a major fortified defender. Although we could alter the attitudinal and behavioural set of ours, the ego and fear of trusting would be the working magic against the alteration from the outside.

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Nevertheless, too much of negative emotions circulating our brain does more harm than good.

For example, if you had been called out being stupid in front of a class, chances are the embarrassment weaving with that particular moment, forming as a scene storing inside your memory fountain. The memory would automatically associate with any trigger tags, from the word – stupid, brainless, to familiar faces – whoever called you out, or the witnesses in the scene, to school uniform, etc. Our brain is very good at finding the association to match with the emotional attachments of memories we have, particularly the sadder, miserable ones. The most depressing memory our brain loves to recall them time after time as if it doesn’t get enough over our state of depression.

Sometimes we would work with the brain, alter the scene inside the memory to justify our reasons. It gives a green light for ourselves to grow more hatred over time, so when we share the story with others, we’re the most innocent one. In any case, when we look back on our past, we tend to look for the emotional attachments, but leaning to more negative sides.

Though being sad costs energy and time.
It does. The tear rolling or thoughts of being treated unfairly will make you go into deeper its sad cycle. While the feeling might be somewhat enjoyable to some, there will be no solution in ending the cycle itself. When you spend time grumbling the bad rather than consoling yourself, you begin going deeper with the thoughts of bad events, it will lead you sadder by minutes. And then, products like alcohol will numb your pains, with the friends who listen to your tales releasing the stress. But they are not the solution. They are merely the temporary shoulders for you to hang on.

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A lot of times, music provokes our memories too.
Be aware of this musical magic. It might be pleasurable to revisit the past, feeling how you experience the situation all over again, but the endless sad looping cycle will eventually change the way of what you think toward certain things. Change the music if it’s sadder enough.

There are three ways we can tickle this. This article does not oppose you to think of negative events, but rather, offering some other ways to use this memory accessing skill in making your life more delightful and memorable.

Let go of them.
Truly letting it go is the only way to deal with the negative past we’d experienced. To know if you’re truly letting it go, ask yourself this, can I face the cause if it happens again? Take the previous example, the person who called you stupid, can you face to him/her with zero hatred feeling, that you’ll be neutral to the person and situation if it ever happens again? Surely this is a simple example, as everyone has different hurdles needed to face, and is bigger than being called dumb. Letting it go involves forgiveness, mindfulness, allowing the negative emotions to flow and self-love. It’s often messier than looking at it on the paper and it may take a lot of effort for some people. But as you progressing these necessary stages to the end, nothing you cannot conquer because inner fears are all there is.

Think of your achievements.
This practice is very undervalued and underestimated by the people, and yet, we all have our milestones and every single one of them is significant. Take simple hiking for instance, spending a day outdoor, trekking in the countryside makes you refreshing. For a moment, it might just be another exercise you took to keep fit, but if you think deeper, it’s a journey you have accomplished in your to-do list. You’re not competing with anyone else, you simply put effort into something you wanted to achieve. That’s remarkable. Achievement can be small or big. Frankly, as you live through today, there is already an achievement that can be celebrated!

Reflect the biggest five accomplishments in your life often and what have you done for a day at nights will improve your moods and motivate you to take on a bigger step, while deviating from thinking negative events in the past.

Think of pleasant moments.
If neurochemicals trigger by our thoughts of thinking, our enacting to the surroundings, then why don’t we decide to think of good moments instead of the bad ones? Accessing to the pleasant moments will increase our gratitude, a necessary ingredient to living a life. We aren’t lying to ourselves and ignore the distressing moments, we consciously know they are there and they do not need our attention. Through the practice of letting things go, you’ll soon enough abandon the pain and unnecessary questions, instead, redistributing your energy to better use.

We have control over our decisions and this game isn’t over yet. Tomorrow is a new day the past has already happened and we’re just in the middle of the line regardless of the age. If we can differentiate what is painful what is joyful for us, why don’t we create a lot of good moments from now on? With friends and families. Living our life to the fullest. So when we have to think back in the past, we have something worth remembering.

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Pictures by Kumiko SHIMIZU, Aaron Burden, David Clode, Allef Vinicius from unsplash 

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