Memory Triggers

 

 

Have you ever saw, smelled, or heard something that triggered a memory from a long time ago? I watched a movie the other night that included a scene about a high school student losing her grandmother. It reminded me of losing my grandmother when I was thirteen. I recalled the day after my grandmother’s funeral when I returned to school. A friend asked where I was the day before. I told him that I had attended my grandmother’s funeral. He insisted I was lying.

 

I found it odd that a friend would think that I lied about losing my grandmother. This is when I realized that not all people my age had lost loved ones. They were likely blessed with having their parents as well as all four of their grandparents living.

 

Death Was Familiar To Me

 

It was different for me. My father’s mother, who had just passed, was the last of my living grandparents. Plus, I had already lost my father seven years earlier. So, death was a familiar experience for me. It seemed, however, it was unfamiliar to my friend.  

 

The Right Trigger

 

This seemingly benign incident has stuck with me for many years. All it took was the right trigger for me to remember it.

 

It’s not uncommon for us to remember something from the past that would otherwise be long forgotten when a current event provides the right stimulus. Sometimes recollection of a memory results in a simple reaction of recognition. However, many times these recollections bring up emotions – both positive and negative. Sometimes, these “forgotten” memories are the source behind a person’s current day issues.

 

It is fascinating how our minds hold onto memories from so long ago and how they unconsciously can affect us today. Even memories that don’t have significance on the surface can have a lasting impact on our well-being long into the future.

 

Responding To Memories

 

As you experience past memories that may spontaneous arise, recognize them. If they are pleasant, welcome them. If they are negative, give yourself permission to release any negative emotions associated with that memory. Releasing guilt, fear, and other negative emotions can be a great healing experience. Don’t forget to be thankful for the experience and to forgive all involved, including yourself.

 

 

 

 

Everyday we ride an emotional roller coaster. We can leave work feeling great because we completed a major project or made a huge sale. The feeling of joy plunges when we become angry because another driver cut us off. Then we reach home and feel so loved when our 2-footed or 4-footed loved ones greet us.

 

The Highs and Lows

 

While riding the emotional roller coaster called life, we often recognize the highs and the lows, but may not think a lot about the physical reaction to these emotions. Like a roller coaster, the physical effects of these emotions can be transient. Our blood pressure increases when we are angry with other drivers. However, it soon returns to normal. In this case, the incident on the roadway results in little or no residual effect on our overall well-being.

 

In some cases, it lasts a bit longer. Stress headaches or muscle strains gained on the ride or that occur as a result of our emotions being jostled about last longer. Perhaps, we feel them for a few hours or a whole day.

 

Linger Affects

 

Sometimes, however, situations can have a lingering effect on us. For example, when we experience strong emotional trauma, such as the loss of a loved one, the emotion can be quite intense and linger with us for a long period of time. Initially, this trauma may or may not have any physical effects on us. Any initial physical effects are likely to be transient – headache, sleeplessness, etc. However, it is the accumulation of the emotion over time that holds the potential to have a greater impact on our health and wellbeing.

 

Underlying negative emotions that linger attack us day in and day out. Often this happens for a long period of time only to be followed by the discovery of a physical aliment. Many times people view this as an independent event and do not connect it to the emotion that they have been harboring. Others have a sudden “Ah ha!” moment and begin to wonder if there is a tie between the their emotion and the manifestation of the physical aliment.

 

Repetitive Emotions

 

Not all physical ailments that manifest from emotion come from traumatic events. People sometimes experience an emotion on a regular basis or hold on to an emotion. If this is a positive emotion, such as love, this is wonderful and very healthy. Unfortunately, it is often anger or another negative emotion. For example, politics, fueled by social media and media outlets, seems to put some people in a constant state of anger. That anger is unhealthy and needs to be released for the person’s own well-being.

 

Changing Our Reactions

 

We can start to change our reactions to negative emotions by being conscious of the connection between our emotions on our physical well-being. Recognition that we no longer need to be at the mercy of these emotions is the first step.

 

The second step is to choose to release our connection to negative emotions. We can begin that process by recognizing that the situation causing these emotions will pass. After all, do we really want to be emotionally invested in something that may physically harm us, This is especially true since the harm often comes after the issue has become less important or is no longer relevant. t

 

Once we make this choice, we can begin to release the emotion. However, releasing the connection to negative emotions is not easy. These negative emotions are the most intense emotions and they linger with us the longest. We also tend to rehash the negative emotions, which reinforces the recall of the situation and has a tendency to intensify the emotions.

 

It is important to see situations that lead to negative emotions for what they are. In some cases, they are traumatic and life changing. However, often we hold onto emotions related to events that aren’t life changing and aren’t really traumatic. We must consciously remind ourselves that it is acceptable and healthy to let go of these negative emotions.

 

Positive Memories Are Healthy

 

Human nature seems to be attuned to looking at the bad. It is a way of survival and seeking answers. Yet, looking for the good in situations or positive memories to replace the bad is very healthy. It isn’t always easy at first; however, it gets easier with practice. In the case of the loss of a loved one, it is far healthier to remember the good times – the laughter, the love – rather than focusing on the loss. By doing so we reinforce the positive emotions and we heal for our future well-being.

 

 

 

 

It is common to hear people say how important it is to let negative emotions go. But, most people are challenged to actually make it happen. They believe in the concept, but making it a reality is lots of work and requires a lot of determination and self-love.

 

Besides being generally happier, letting go of toxic relationships and emotions is good for a person’s long-term physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Yet, people often harbor negative emotions regarding a person, company, or situation for days, weeks, months, and even years. If not released, negativity accumulates and strengthens. It can affect a person in many different ways including manifesting as physical ailments.

 

Now, what if you have harbored negative feelings about a person for years and you find that you are genetically related to that person? Learning of this connection can be devastating to people.

 

Consider the situation where there was a friend of the family that you just couldn’t stand being around when you were growing up. You couldn’t put your finger on it, but you just felt disgust toward this man. Over the years, you could never manage to let it go. Later, you find out that he was once your mother’s boyfriend and he is indeed your birth father instead of the man you call Dad.   Learning your birth father isn’t the person you thought is crushing. However, it is even more difficult when you find that your real birth father is someone you harbor negative feelings towards.

 

Alternately, you could have had a rough breakup. You haven’t been able to have a good relationship since the breakup. You can’t get over the pain of the relationship. The mere thought of your ex still makes your gut churn. Then, one day, you are doing genealogy and discover that your ex is actually a distant cousin. It is like a two by four just hit you, deepening your wound. Not only did this person leave you wounded, they are also related to you.

 

Perhaps even worse would be the discovery that you are genetically related to someone you have not forgiven for physical or mental harm they did to someone you love. You may have spent years being angry at this person for a serious crime like assault, rape, or murder. To find you are related to them feels as if your soul is being ripped out.

 

Learning of these connections can be challenging in the best of circumstances. However, being in a good place emotionally can definitely make the news of the connection easier. A new connection may never be uncovered between you and someone you harbor negative feelings towards. However, if it is, being in a good place emotionally is essential.

 

We all know that we need to get rid of the negativity in our lives and this is just one more reason to do it. If you think it can’t happen to you, you might be surprised. These examples are generalizations based on real situations that have happened.

 

While you are clearing out this negativity, give yourself permission to release the negativity you have toward people who you already know are your genetic connections. If you have anger toward your siblings, parent, or others, know that holding onto it serves no purpose.

 

Remember, you are all related. For instance, if you are angry at your mother, consider that she not only gave you life, but you also share about 50% of your DNA with her (yeah I know, you didn’t get THAT DNA). Therefore, being angry with your mother is a bit like being angry at part of yourself. That should make you want to release the anger; however, many people spend lots of time being angry with themselves.

 

If you find yourself having negative feelings toward yourself, start by releasing those feelings. Nothing can be more impacting to you than positive or negative feelings toward yourself. Know that you do not have to hold onto negative feelings.  With work, they can be replaced with feelings of love and kindness.

 

Once you conquer the challenge of releasing negativity toward yourself, branch out to your family, friends, and even those who have wronged you. Although you may never uncover an unknown genetic connection, letting go of the negativity ensures that such a discovery would be easier to handle.

 

No matter your situation, letting go of negative emotions will have a positive impact on your life. Releasing negativity is healthy and it allows you to move forward with your life.

 

So, stay positive! You never know where it will lead in life.