It’s All About Context

contemplatingThinking and rethinking about the emotionally charged reminders of hurtful situations can lead to anxiety and depression over time. When you think about your worst memory, what do you recall? Do you begin to feel the hurt all over again? Trying to push those feelings down and move on can help you temporarily, but long term, they can build up, continuing to cause us increased emotional pain as we go through more hurtful situations in life.

There’s a much better way to handle those emotionally charged memories that will keep those feelings in check and lead to a healthier way of processing them.

“Researchers at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, led by psychology professor Florin Dolcos of the Cognitive Neuroscience Group, studied the behavioral and neural mechanisms of focusing away from emotion during recollection of personal emotional memories, and found that thinking about the contextual elements of the memories significantly reduced their emotional impact.

“Sometimes we dwell on how sad, embarrassed, or hurt we felt during an event, and that makes us feel worse and worse. This is what happens in clinical depression — ruminating on the negative aspects of a memory,” Dolcos said. “But we found that instead of thinking about your emotions during a negative memory, looking away from the worst emotions and thinking about the context, like a friend who was there, what the weather was like, or anything else non-emotional that was part of the memory, will rather effortlessly take your mind away from the unwanted emotions associated with that memory. Once you immerse yourself in other details, your mind will wander to something else entirely, and you won’t be focused on the negative emotions as much.””

 

changing focusBy putting out focus on something less emotionally charged, will help us put these negative memories in a much better frame of reference, less anxiety provoking, deterring depression, it seems. I like that! Recalling what others were wearing, how their hair was styled, the weather, where you were, or who else you were with can altogether help process the memory in a less emotionally charged way.

“Using this strategy promotes healthy functioning not only by reducing the negative impact of remembering unwanted memories, but also by increasing the positive impact of cherished memories, Florin Dolcos said.”

I really like this! It’s like mental photoshop for our memories. We can crop out the bad, accentuate the positive, highlight the background and create the memory in a more favorable light. I really like that it can increase our good memories, too.  It’s worth a try!

About Candace

Candace Dye is an Apriori Beauty Consultant and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Her passion is helping others to uncover and enhance their true inner radiance with tips for health, wellness, skin care and beauty!

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