3 Keys To Handling Bad Memories

10 Oct 2018

3 Keys To Handling Bad Memories

You don’t have to suffer debilitating bad memories

Many people believe that the suffering that results from traumatic experiences are part of their lot in life; that they’re condemned to relive those bad memories. But nothing could be further from the truth.

3 Keys To Handling Bad Memories - article by Stephanie Philp

Photo by Kaboompics.com from Pexels

Memories only exist in your mind

I know that statement might seem like a flash of the blindingly obvious for some people. Yet for others, memories are real, almost tangible things that have a major negative impact on their day-to-day lives.

And therein lies the problem

Memories are really just a collection of thoughts, feelings and meanings attributed to an experience or an event. However, they do cause neurological damage.

The damage doesn’t have to be permanent

Our bodies repair themselves and neurological damage caused by trauma can also be repaired. Whether what you recall is traumatic or pleasurable is entirely dependant upon the emotions you have associated with, and the meaning you have attached to, the memory. If you have positive feelings concerning a memory, you’ll feel good. Whereas someone else, having had the same experience might determine it to have been a harrowing ordeal. That’s why some folk love going to haunted theme parks, bungee jumping or riding a roller coaster. They love having the bejesus scared out of them! They find it a positive experience. For others, such experiences would rank as worse than their worst nightmare.

How bad memories become traumatic

Recognising that it’s what you’re doing in your head that’s causing the upset feeling is the first step towards getting any associated problems resolved. Bad memories become more traumatic in the replaying of the incident. In effect, the person re-traumatises themselves by unintentionally replaying what happened.

Understanding this means you no longer have to live in a kind of ground-hog-day-esque fog where you’re condemned to re-live unwanted memories for the rest of your life.

Traumas, as well as phobias and anxieties, are extreme examples of negatively experienced memories. But any unwanted recollections can be changed relatively quickly using a variety of simple NLP techniques. Here are three. The first focuses on your self-talk, the second on the emotions and feelings (kinesthetic) and the third is a visual technique that you would be best to get resolved with an NLP Practitioner.

1. Talk it out (From Nick Kemp)

  • Notice how you talk to yourself about the memory and the speed of that internal speech.
  • Determine what it is you say, as you begin to remember the troubling memory.
  • Then say the same thing but v-e-r-y —s-l-o-w-l-y – with 1 or 2 seconds between each word – while replaying the visual memory.
  • Repeat several times, increasing the gaps between each word every time you re-member it.

2. Spin it out (From Richard Bandler)

Notice the feeling you have when you think about the memory.


  • Where in your body the feeling begins.
  • Where it seems to exit
  • Notice whether the feeling spins clockwise or anti-clockwise.


  • Reverse the spinning so that the feeling moves in the opposite direction.
  • Add a calming colour to the reverse spinning.
  • Increase the speed of the spinning

Check and see how you feel now.

3. Get some help

The NLP phobia or trauma cure will normally make short work of debilitating memories. Get in touch if you’d like some coaching to resolve anything of this nature.

Regret, guilt, anxiety?

Perhaps traumatic memories aren’t an issue for you, but maybe you’ve done something you regret or feel guilty or anxious about? The problem is really about how you’re responding to those memories now. Try the above techniques on those emotions and the associated events as well.


The critical point to remember is that the answer lies in how you’re thinking about any past troubling event now. The quality of your feelings will give you an indication of what you’re doing Inside Your Mind. With any of these three keys, you can unlock the problem, shine a light on the issues affecting you and find your way out of the dark.