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Sep082007

New Study Looks at How Negative Emotions Imprint Your Memory

dreamstime_1635775-01.jpgMost of us have at least one negative association we can all relate to. Something shocking that impacted our lives in a way where it’s understood “I’ll always remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard that news.” There are the ones that impacted a whole nation, September 11th, the assassination of Kennedy, or the assassination attempt of the Pope.

And then there are the more personal memories, the little traumas or sometimes huge ones that affect us suddenly and massively, imprinting in a second all their detail and intensity - finding yourself in a threatening situation, an accident, the sudden death of a loved one, being the victim of a crime, and a whole unwelcome collection of other possibilities.

 

 

 

 

Your Brain on Red Alert

Recent research concludes that these negative experiences fire off areas of the brain that are well equipped to recall it all, and that this is so for our future protection. Ideally, this works in a way that we can preserve any beneficial knowledge from the experience(s) and move on. But the field of Energy Psychology looks at this differently, and affirms that while these experiences may impact our brains they also impact our energy system and register there as a disturbance which holds the trauma as well as the details. What that means in living experience is that we hold not only the memory but the full emotional intensity of these events and that emotional intensity can be a deeply disturbing part of recollection.

Instead of promoting learning and the chance for future protection, as this research suggests, a traumatic incident that impacts us emotionally at the level of the energy system can lead to less useful behaviours for coping with potential threats such as avoidance and aversion, in other words, the seed forms of phobias. In such cases we carry increased stress and unwanted negative emotions rather than foresight.

In other words the body and brain go on “red alert”, the will do anything to avoid re-expereincing that same event, or anything remotely like it, again and so you develop a state of hyper-vigilance. It’s protection of a sort, but it’s of the unhealthy and exhausting variety.

 

How Negative Emotions can become Harmless Memories

This is where the incredibly effective Energy Psychology tools are perhaps at their most useful. Gary Craig’s EFT - Emotional Freedom Techniques - sits squarely on the theory that “all negative emotions are caused by a disruption in the body’s energy system”. EFT gets to the root of those disruptions by rebalancing the body’s energy system using a set sequence of acupuncture points which are simply tapped by the  fingertips while the negative emotion is held in thought.

When I first came across EFT, I was already fascinated by the energy, or meridian system, and was becoming aware of it’s healing potential for both physical and emotional issues, yet I still found the idea of EFT to be a bit “far fetched” 8 years later I’m happy to admit I was wrong! EFT works, and it works very well. Any friends or family I’ve shared EFT with are still using it - it’s become second nature to them to tap away stresses, anxiety and the effect of unwanted effects as and when they happen.

With a technique like EFT at your disposal you can have the power to preserve the learning of any unwelcome experience but without the emotional sting. Events become memories rather than traumas, shocks, resentments, frustrations etc etc.

The accumulation of negative emotions is almost inevitable unless you have a way, or ways, to deal with them. EFT is one way to stop that accumulation and it’s resultant stress, and impairment of your personal resources. In practical terms, that’s a huge help to your health and your personal development.

 

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Reader Comments (1)

Thank you for the information.

You stated that "recent research concludes that these negative experiences fire off areas of the brain that are well equipped to recall it all."

Could you please tell me where you found this information? I am very interested and would like to read the full study.

Thank you. DC
Sep 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDC

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