Learn: How To Change an Unpleasant Memory

Here is a quick, easy and practical way to change an unpleasant memory. This technique works best with everyday problems of low to medium intensity..:

1. Watch a Movie of Problem Situation. Begin by thinking of an everyday difficulty. For example, recall a time that you were disappointed  or embarrassed, a time when you didnt feel very good about things. Pick a specific and real event from your past. As you think of this specific event, notice what images and sounds come to mind and watch a movie of this event unfold before you. When you’re done, notice how you’re feeling.

2. Select Theme Music. Now select some “theme music” that mismatches the feelings you got from the movie you just watched. Your memory is probably serious and heavy. So select somthing light and bouncy, like circus or cartoon music. Some people prefer upbeat dance music.

3. Repeat Movie with Music. When you have selected music, have it playing nice and loud in your mind as you begin to watch your movie again. Have the music playing all the way through to the end.

4. Check Results. Now, rewind that movie back to the beginning. Play it without the music and notice your response to it this time. Have your feelings changed..? For many, the incident has become ludicrous or humorous. For others, their unpleasant feelings have been greatly reduced or at least neutralised. If you’re feelings are not yet satisfied for you, try using a different kind of theme music with your movie until you find one that works for you.

This exercise is an attempt to highlight the idea that “the map, in not the territory” which basically translates into this:

“Our mental maps of the world, ARE NOT THE WORLD. We respond to our Maps, rather than directly to the world. Mental maps, especially feelings and interpretations, can be updated much more easily than the world can be changed.”

Thanks for reading x

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4 thoughts on “Learn: How To Change an Unpleasant Memory

  1. I read the title and was immediately interested…I have a couple of unpleasant memories…but before I could leap into reading the rest of the post I decided I’d rather wait for the right moment! I think the effect would work better. So here is my “I’ll be back to read this” comment. Haha

    Hope all is well,

  2. Lol 🙂

    It does say its recommended for “medium to low” intensity of memory.. I understand that there are some pretty painful memories out there which require more than visualisation exercises..

    So yeah, firstly thanks alot for your comment (much appreciated indeed!) and secondly, I hope you enjoy the post when you get round to reading it.. 🙂

    All the best,

  3. About 6 months ago I had a year’s worth of counselling for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Every now and then I still have high anxiety problems and may apparently now have a dissociation problem being looked into. Do you have any high intensity techniques like the above that may help me?

    • Hi Lynda,

      I read somewhere that “High Intensity Exercise”, literally, can be a good way to help get on top of PTSD.. In terms of a ‘thought’ exercise, I dont have one specific for your cause unfortunately. When PTSD is concerned and more importantly, modes of disassociation, I find myself stepping into an area which doesn’t match my expertise, and this makes me reluctant to pass on any advice as I dont see myself qualified to be able to offer such advice.

      There are other exercises I have, but they are not aimed at the high intensity memory bracket..

      Its that blurry line between “advice” and “counselling”. If I can help in other any way, do get back in touch and I will assist where i can.

      Kind regards,

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