How to fight bad memories?

How to fight bad memories?

Forget bad memories

We all have memories, some are good or positive and refer to happy personal events, but unfortunately other memories can be very painful, they are those that we would rather forget.

A new study reveals that what we do with our emotional memories and how they affect us, has a lot to do with our personality and the methods we use (often without being aware) to regulate our feelings.

Studies on neuroticism and negative emotions

This study appears the magazine of the American Psychological Association and says like this:

"We are looking for personality traits that are associated with the way people process the emotional world and the way they respond to it," said psychology professor Florin Dolcos, who led the study together with postdoctoral researchers Sanda Dolcos and Ekaterina Denkova, at the University of Alberta. "We wanted to examine not only how personality traits can influence what and how people remember, but also to examine how it affects their subsequent emotional state."

Previous studies of personality and its relationship with autobiographical memory have tended to focus only on women, and only on negative memories, Florin Dolcos said. They do it because women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with emotional disorders such as depression or anxiety, which are associated with a greater emphasis on negative emotions.

In these studies it was found that people with high levels of neuroticism (the tendency to focus on negative emotions, especially in times of tension) also "are more willing to become sick with emotional disorders, such as depression and anxiety-related problems," said Dolcos. However, these studies have not examined the differences between men and women, the relationship between positive and negative memories, how often individuals remember specific memories and the vividness of their memories, he said.

Nor did most of these studies examine the strategies that people use to regulate their emotions when the mind evokes positive and negative autobiographical memories. These strategies include suppression (trying to mitigate or hide negative emotions) and reevaluation (trying to adopt a new perspective on unpleasant memories).

The new study examined all these variables, and the results offer a first indication of the complex interaction of factors that contribute to mood in healthy young people and women.

Questionnaires and verbal cues were used to analyze personality by obtaining more than 100 autobiographical data from 71 participants, 33 men and 38 women, and they found that the most outgoing, friendly, assertive people who are looking for stimuli tend to remember the positive facts of his life.

The Neurotic men are those who have a negative view of life by remembering the most unpleasant moments, while neurotic women not only remember them but also relive them over and over and over again., disorder named "ruminate" and that is linked to a tendency to depression.

The most pronounced differences between men and women regarding the effects of the emotional strategies they used when remembering negative autobiographical memories are the following: Men who usually do a reevaluation, making an effort to think differently about their memories, they were likely to remember more positive memories than their partners, while the men who used the repression, trying to placate their negative emotional responses, no remarkable effect was seen on the withdrawal of positive or negative memories. In women, however, suppression was significantly associated with the recovery of negative memories., because it produces the opposite effect and revives them again and again, dragging them to a lower mood and even depression.

"I think the most important thing here is that we really have to look concomitantly on gender differences related to personality and recognize that these factors have a different impact on the way we record our memories, what we are doing with our memories and how we are treating it is affecting our emotional well-being, "said Sanda Dolcos.

The results are instructive for both men and women, he said. Apparently, being more sociable, stop remembering the bad thing over and over again, and the use of reevaluation works better in men than in women as a strategy to deal with negative memories and appreciate positive ones, they concluded in the study published in the magazine Emotion of the American Psychological Association.

In this video you can see the main characteristics of a neurotic personality: