There are many reasons for wanting to forget a memory. Some memories can embarrass you, while others may be more distressing or traumatic. Maybe you do not like to be reminded of specific individuals or something from the past.

Where do Memories Come from?

For your mind to hold memories, proteins boost brain cells to develop and form new connections. The more you think about a particular event, the stronger the neuronal connections become. And as long as you recall the memories from time to time, they will stay there. 

However, each time you call your memory, it becomes more pliable. This is why some details may change, though the memory grows substantial and more vivid. Like what Larry, the main character of the book entitled The Shadows of Sawtooth Ridge by Bernie McAuley, experienced. He underwent a traumatic occasion, and every time he remembered it, his memories grew more threatening every time you recall it. Unfortunately, his bad memories stuck out more than his good memories. Researchers have long supported this point because these bad memories interact more with our emotions. The stronger the feelings, the more details we can recall. 

For instance, whenever you experience an argument, you may beat yourself up over something you said. Recreating the same scene repeatedly increases your fear of saying the wrong thing.

Or maybe you cannot stop pondering about the names others called you as a kid. Those nasty words invade your mind whenever you encounter new individuals or whenever you have a few minutes of stillness. As you outline those painful times, your self-confidence plummets, and hopelessness soars.

The Trouble with Ruminating

If you tend to be an over-thinker, you are not alone. It is a common issue most people encounter. But dwelling on unfavorable circumstances and uncomfortable emotions aren’t suitable for you. 

Living on these negative emotions to mental health concerns. Studies show that the more you think about hardships, mistakes, and problems, the more likely you will experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. Concentrating on these problems causes mental health issues to last longer. The more you think about them, the harder it is to become psychologically healthy.

Negative thinking is a complex cycle to break. Over time, rumination becomes a bad practice. It can become so entrenched that you will have difficulty changing your feelings. Brooding can lead to harmful coping crafts. Analyses show that rumination improves dynamic misery, which raises the risk of developing substance abuse issues or eating disorders.

How to Stop

If you care to stay in your pain and hammer yourself up for your errors, dedicate yourself to transforming the way you think. It takes practice and commitment to stop ruminating, but doing so will help you feel better and behave more productively.

Recognize when It is Happening

The more you meditate, the more probable you are to get stuck in a harmful process that is hard to break. Be aware of your thought habits and pay close attention to when you keep replaying tragic events in your head. The faster you notice it, the quicker you can choose to think about something more productive.

Look for Answers

Constantly thinking about problems is not helpful—unless you actively seek a solution. Question yourself if there is anything you can do about the crisis. Perpetrate learning from your mistakes and solving your problems so you can move forward.

Set Aside Time to Think

Your brain needs an opportunity to process the things that occur in your life. Set aside 20 minutes per day to ponder or reflect. And include this time in your schedule. When you notice you are worrying or ruminating outside that scheduled time, remind yourself, “I will think about that later.”  

Understanding that you have a specific time to think about troublesome thoughts can help you put it off. Adhering to your time limit will help you think about your issues more efficiently while also stopping you from repeatedly penalizing yourself by recalling sad memories.

Distract yourself

You are practicing not thinking about something that could reverse—and force you to think about it even more. The more helpful way to divert yourself is to find tasks that keep you busy. Practice calling friends to discuss a separate topic or doing a home project. Moving constantly will also help you “change the channel” and control you from agonizing over your distressing memories.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a way to live in the “here and now.” When you are mindful, you will be present in the moment. Like other forms of reflection, mindfulness takes practice, but it can significantly reduce reflection over time.

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