No matter what the past has done to you, your future is still spotless. There is truth in this sentiment, as it’s not just an anecdotal message of ignorance and bliss. Our personalities are the total sum of all the happenings in our lives, the good, the bad… and even the ugly. Traumatic events that we’ve endured throughout our lives can exist in our memories in ways we are not even aware of, even if we feel that we’ve moved on. Psychologists rely on the past as a major key to understanding current personalities. But the questions we want to explore here are "Can bad recollections of the past be permanently deleted?" And if so, how to get rid of those bad memories?
How to Erase Memories on Your Own
Get Rid of Tangible Triggers
If you’re constantly bombarded with bad memories because of an object you are forced to see on a frequent basis, then just trash it. For example, if you want to know how to eradicate memories of an abusive relationship, then look around you. The candle on your nightstand that used to burn while you and your partner were fighting, his or her pajamas in your dresser drawers, their favorite coffee mug, anything that reminds you of a bad memory needs to go.
Stop Focusing on the Bad Memory
The more focus you place on what you’re actually trying to forget, the more negative feelings you will have to endure as a result. Even if your focus is to get rid of the memory, you’re still focusing on the memory subliminally.
In order to truly push these bad memories out, you have to stop giving them attention altogether. Shift your focus to positive thoughts and memories immediately. You have the power to train your mind to think about something happy and beautiful every time you feel that negative memory moving up towards the surface.
Change the Memory’s Associations
To erase a bad memory, try to recall it while you’re enjoying yourself. For this to be effective, you must endure the pain the memory presents and plow through it, so it does not disrupt a pleasant feeling. This positive association exercise will trick your mind into feeling happy and relaxed about the bad memory, rather than troubled and distraught. Do something that makes you happy, whether it’s drawing a hot bubble bath, going for a long walk on a scenic route, or listening to upbeat or soothing music. Conjure your bad memory to the forefront of your mind and face it without letting it disturb your emotions about the activity you’re partaking in.
Adjust Your Feelings and Reactions Towards the Memory
Although you cannot change the events that give you bad memory, you can change the way you feel and react to it. Every time you recall the memory, your feelings of stress, fear, and anguish resurface because your mind and body are being told to feel these feelings as a result of the memory. So how to erase memories? Here comes another secrete!
Try some breathing exercises to help you relax, and allow your entire body to calm down. Breathe in deep, and exhale for longer than you inhale. As you calm down, your mind will learn that the bad memory triggers a peaceful stillness within you, and will then stop having such a negative impact on your present self.
Perform a Ritual Release
A ritual release is essentially a cathartic exercise within your mind that helps you let go of a bad memory. To execute a ritual release, you have to imagine your bad memory as a still photograph. Add details to the photograph with all of the negative memories from the traumatic experience you wish to forget. Next, set the photograph on fire in your mind. Watch the photo singe and burn. Watch the edges curl up and turn to ash. Watch the memory burn away until the last shred of the photograph is gone.
Replace Bad Memories with New Memories
If you can fill up your mind with positive new experiences, you will help push a bad memory away. Your new memories will take the place of old memories that you want to forget. To do this you can try many different things, like getting involved with a new group of people, taking up a new hobby, becoming entrenched in arts and literature, or even landing a new job. You can help your mind stay focused on new endeavors which will certainly stifle bad memories from the past.
Erase These Memories Permanently
Erasing your bad memories for good can be done with the help of a hypnotherapist. Hypnotherapy, or hypnosis, is a safe and effective method of permanently deleting unwanted memories from your mind. Hypnosis works in your subconscious mind, rather than your active thoughtful mind, which helps erase the memory at its roots. Your hypnotherapist will first induce a deeply relaxed state within your mind and body, and then they’ll work with you to adjust your response to the memory, and those negative feelings attached to it. In the end, after processing your emotions, the memory will become irrelevant and forgotten.
How to Erase Memories with Scientific Methods
Suppress the Unwanted Memory
There has been success with the selective memory suppression, the notion that a person can willfully block out a bad memory with certain therapeutic techniques. Still, this method merely suppresses a memory, rather than erase it, so it’s likely to resurface again.
Inducing amnesia with drugs like Triazolam, Midazolam, and Diazepam can help your mind lose the memory you wish to forget. Drug-induced amnesia is often used when anesthesia is not a viable option as a treatment for patients undergoing a traumatic medical procedure.
Disrupt the Brain’s Molecular Functions
Your memory storage exists as a result of your brain’s synaptic patterns. Disrupting the pattern of your brain’s molecular mechanisms can disrupt the existence of a memory altogether, thus becoming an effective means of how to erase memories.
Interrupt the Memory’s Consolidation Process
When you recall a memory, you’re actually remembering the last time you remembered the event, and not the event itself. This, known as the memory’s consolidation process, is the best time to adjust the truth within your memory.
Destroy Select Neurons
Evidence has shown that memories will stimulate certain neurons and/or systems of neurons in the brain. Pinpoint which neurons become stimulated when you access your bad memory, and then destroy them, which could be an effective way of erasing memories. However, modern science has yet to understand the full impact of neuron destruction, and the long term effects it may have on the patient.
Try Self-Help Techniques
EFTs, or emotional freedom techniques, are self-help exercises using psychological acupressure technique to help get rid of an unwanted memory without the use of medication. But the success of these techniques is difficult to measure.