However hard we may try, the worst memories refuse to leave us at peace, triggering emotional distress on most occasions.
This may soon change as researchers have discovered an easy and effective way of dealing with bad memories.
When these negative memories creep up, thinking about the context of the memories, rather than how you felt, is a relatively easy and an effective way to alleviate the negative effects of these memories, a new study has revealed.
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Thinking about the contextual elements of the memories significantly reduced their emotional impact.
"Looking away from the worst emotions and thinking about the context, like a friend who was there or what the weather was like, will rather effortlessly take your mind away from the unwanted emotions associated with (a negative) memory,” said professor Florin Dolcos from Beckman Institute at University of Illinois.
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The researchers studied the behavioural and neural mechanisms of focusing away from emotion during recollection of personal emotional memories.
This strategy is a promising alternative to other emotion-regulation strategies, like suppression or reappraisal, suggested the study appeared in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.