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Mindfulness to eliminate negative memories of the mind

Mindfulness to eliminate negative memories of the mind

January 21, 2023

A phrase that is attributed to the philosopher and psychologist John Dewey is: "we naturally remember what interests us and why we are interested". Some may agree with the statement, but the truth is that not all our memories show a clear utility or a way in which we benefit in some way. It is very common, for example, to keep Clearly unpleasant or negative memories in some aspect that, in spite of the reactions of rejection that they produce in us, they resist to be forgotten.

It is normal to happen, in fact. If something characterizes the memories is that they all appear without being called, without attending to rational criteria, and in a rather disorderly way. Our conscience he does not have absolute control over memory . In all cases, it conforms to the help that can be received from it, and is satisfied when the memories that are recovered are useless, distracting or in bad taste. It is the double edge of the functioning of the brain: it is so creative that, to the force, it is to a certain extent unpredictable. For good and for bad.


Of course, it is a problem that we are not able to recover the memories we need to inspire us, but it can still be worse if certain negative memories are presented to us persistent , something that can happen even though we are not thinking of something indirectly related to that past experience.

The neuroscience behind the suppression of intrusive memories

Actually, it can not affect the memory system to the point of completely avoiding the appearance of memories of a certain type. What can be done is to influence the recovery process of those memories, to make us less aware of them and not cause us so many problems once they have appeared. This is not only valid for the memories that pass into consciousness, since it can also be applied to any type of unpleasant experience in progress.


Luckily, there are ways to tackle these small daily conflicts with our memories. We know them, thanks in part to a study published in 2012 that can be read in the magazine Neuron. The researchers who participated in it looked for the neurological keys that can help us to forget negative or unwanted memories, even in cases of PTSD. These scientists reported on two opposing mechanisms that operate in parallel to the disappearance of this type of evocations from the map: suppression and the substitution .

Suppression and Substitution

Deletion is a process that involves inhibition of memories , whereas substitution helps to transfer new memories to the consciousness that take the place of the suppressed part, although these are practically invented. Despite working as a team, both mechanisms involve different neuronal structures . While suppression involves the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, substitution is born from different areas of the same prefrontal lobe, an area of ​​the brain associated with planning and goal-oriented strategies.


What does this study teach us?

The previous study provides evidence on the possibility of intervene in the appearance of unwanted memories . On the one hand, we can block its appearance by suppression, and on the other, think of other things. Or, which is the same, through the conclusions of the study it is suggested that, in many cases, some mental training is enough to achieve a certain degree of control over the recovery of past experiences.

Going to the point, the techniques that are useful in shortening the life of negative memories are served by the logic of suppression and substitution. Basically, it is about exercising control over the focus in which attention is being directed and away from negative experiences. It may seem like a very simple answer, but the truth is that it is not so simple. In the end, suppressing a thought is partly recognizing that it is there, that it exists. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to practice and improve your command of attention.

What are the techniques that allow to eliminate negative memories?

Both traditional meditation and Mindfulness have been effective in making intrusive memories disappear. Both are forms of "mental training" that affect connections between different neural tissues, and appear to facilitate control of attention while minimizing the effect of unpleasant sensations, according to some studies.

How do I adapt that to my case?

The good thing about attention control methods is that they can take a variety of forms. There are many ways to meditate and it is relatively easy to find one that suits each case.For the rest, these practices are associated with an increase in the quality of life not only in relation to negative memories: they also serve to sleep more easily, reduce stress and even treat chronic pain.

On the other hand, to know how to adapt Mindfulness as a tool to the different needs that arise, it is first necessary to learn the fundamentals of Mindfulness. In this sense, the Mindfulness Training Program (M-PBI) of the Mensalus Institute of Barcelona stands out. This year 2018 begins on November 14 and is now in its 18th edition. If you are interested in learning more about this 6-session course and a full-day retreat, click on this link to contact the Mensalus Institute.


Hypnosis ➤ Cleansing Unwanted Feelings and Negative Thinking [Solfeggio 417Hz & Binaural] (January 2023).


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