Emotional memory: characteristics and ways of development

Why do most of us remember bad events better than good ones? Why are some people afraid of the dark, others of water, others of fire? Someone is ready to help at any moment, and someone will pass by a drowning man? Equally important in what we feel or do not feel is emotional memory.


Emotional memory helps to keep in the mind of a person everything that he experienced in a certain situation. Subsequently, this information becomes a signal to repeat the past again, if the emotions experienced from this action in the past were positive or stop us from committing this or that action or deed, if doing the same before, we experienced a negative.

Pavel Petrovich Bolonsky, an outstanding teacher and philosopher of the last century, studying psychology, came to the conclusion that a person perceives events that are happening here and now much brighter. But still, having got into a situation similar to what happened earlier, he immediately receives a signal from the past, which makes him stop or, conversely, continue to do what he started following the examples of the past. Wherein especially clearly the brain archives such feelings as surprise, suffering, fear. And this applies not only to people, but also to animals.

And it is this ability of the brain that helps them develop a sense of self-preservation.

How does it work?

An example is a dog that got hit by a car. After a traumatic situation, she will never again appear next to the road. The same thing happens with people, only unlike animals. such fear can lead not only to increased vigilance and caution, but even to seclusion. If a person in childhood often experienced negative emotions, and in particular fear, then in the future, most likely, he will become a fearful and distrustful individual.

Thus, emotional memory directly affects how a person organizes his life, both personal and social.

It turns out that the state of emotional memory is akin to an indicator of our ability not only to self-preservation, but also to sympathy and compassion — empathy. Although negative emotions may not carry terrifying consequences. For example, a person in childhood choked on a duck bone, the parents were so frightened that they took the boy to the hospital. Everything worked out, but now an adult can’t stand either duck or goose.

The consequences may be even more significant. So, people who have experienced violence or bullying in childhood often limit their communications, cannot be realized in life, cannot feel a sense of compassion, participation in the troubles of others.

Therefore, it is important to develop a person’s innate capacity for responsiveness or emotional memory.

Development Methods

Emotional memory is easy to develop. It is important to do this from early childhood, to form a positive view of the world around the child, because in this way he will not only become kinder, but he will also feel more confident. Remember, the more good memories a person has, the more successful his life is.

Here is a small list of tips that are sure to help your baby in the future.

  • Be more affectionate with the child, and not only when there is something to praise him for, but constantly. Even when you are just walking. Draw his attention to beautiful things, talk about nature, birds, animals only in a positive way. Believe me, if you startle every time a dog appears and say that it is scary, your child will most likely become afraid, not only of yard dogs, but also of other animals.
  • More often please the child with kisses, «hugs», make at least small pleasant gifts. Remember that bad memories are remembered better, which means that helping fill emotional memory with positive memories is not about quality, but quantity.
  • If the child is upset about something, try to throw out or erase this feeling from his memory.. Think of ways to distract him. Go for the trick. For example, make the child believe that his failure is just a waste of paper that is easy to throw away. At the same time, be sure to show him this piece of paper, tear it together and throw it away. By the way, this trick works with adults too.
  • Another similar way to get rid of negativity. Transfer your experiences or the experiences of the child to some unnecessary object or even several objects, wrap it or them in an unnecessary bag and take it to the trash can.
  • Play a ball game. It reminds us of the well-known «Edible — inedible». Participants in a circle throw the ball to each other. The one who caught him should tell the others about some event that brought him joy. Thus, he himself «clears» his emotional memory, and sets others on a positive wave.
  • But if in childhood you still didn’t receive positive emotions, then fill your head with them yourself. Meditation is a method that has been tested for centuries. When you feel that «the world is not fair to you», close your eyes and remember some good moment in your life. First kiss, for example.
  • Another way to meditate: close your eyes and be transported from gray autumn to the warm sea, even if you have not been there for a long time and are not going to for a long time. Remember or even imagine the smell and color of the wave, you yourself will not notice how soon you will feel the breath of the sea breeze.

Read more. Immersed in someone else’s story, whether it be the story of a fictional character or a famous person, you will involuntarily forget about your worries and hardships.

Perhaps you will find answers to your questions in the book.

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