Everyone must have gone through something in their lifetime or currently through some kind of experience that they wished had never happened. That experience tends to become an integral part of our memory which, unfortunately, is not easy to forget about. It includes small but crucial moments of life from falling down the stairs in front of the whole class or having gone through an accident, all these bad Memories tend to form memories that are later reflected in life if not dealt with.
Memory plays an important role in shaping our intelligence and the well-being of a person. Human memory is a complete mental process that can provide us with valuable lessons and make us have experiences in our life.
The Impact of Bad Memories on Mental Functioning:
1) Emotional Disturbance:
Have you ever felt a sudden urge of negative feelings related while remembering your past memory?
Bad memories tend to evoke intense emotions such as sadness, fear, or anger. Such strong and negative emotions affect our normal mental functioning like our concentration, attention, and decision-making, and also disturb our sleep cycle leading to an overall decrease in our mental functioning and performance.
2) Memory Distortion:
Bad memories can get distorted over time because of the effect of emotions and personal biases. When you recall a traumatic experience in your life or any negative events it can alter the memory to an error in the recall of the event. This memory distortion due to bad experiences can affect our ability to remember something accurately hence impacting our intelligence.
3) Cognitive Biases:
Have you ever went for shopping and ended up buying a cream or any other products just because it was endorsed by a celebrity? You did not even need the product, but just because its advertisement included a celebrity, you suddenly had this urge to buy it? ‘This is an example of a cognitive bias.
Cognitive biases are errors in our mental judgment due to false perceptions of things we have developed. Bad memories can also create such cognitive biases in a person because of which a person can interpret information illogically. Apart from this a person’s ability to make decisions is also disrupted.
4) Intrusive Thoughts and Repetitive Thinking:
Bad memories can lead to the formation of automatic thoughts and repetitive thinking. In this, a person repeatedly thinks about the distressing events in their mind. This process can exhaust a person and hinder mental functioning as the person is spending a lot of time unnecessarily pondering thoughts. The constant negative thinking may disturb our focus and hence impacts our intelligence.
1) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
People who have experienced bad events in their life may develop PTSD, a type of mental illness that occurs in a person having experienced any traumatic events in their life such as a fatal accident, or death of a loved one, etc. Experiences traumatic events for a prolonged time can lead to PTSD that causes a person to have flashbacks, anxiety, fear, loneliness, nightmares, insomnia etc.
All these symptoms drastically impact a person’s ability to think thereby affecting intelligence.
2) Anxiety and Depression:
Negative feelings caused by bad memories could lead to the development of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Both of these are related to reduced mental functioning. Anxiety and depression cause a person to lose concentration, have problems focusing on things, the ability to remember, etc. The constant negative feelings affect a person’s good to a great extent causing an increase in overall intelligence and productivity.
3) Self-Esteem and Motivation:
A bad experience can lower one’s self-esteem to a lot extent. A person’s level of motivation is created due to prolonged stress caused by this negative memory. Lower self-esteem and motivation impact our performance as we lost interest in activities. The reduced confidence in oneself creates a disrupting cycle that consumes a person from within leading to overall distress in our mental functioning.
What you can do to deal with past experiences?
4) Therapy and Counseling:
Seeking help from a therapist on counselors could help a person heal from a traumatic experience in life. Counselors can assist you in managing bad memories through several therapeutic techniques. Addressing one’s problem and facing a bad memory helps to cope with the distress in a healthy manner.
5) Mindfulness and Meditation:
Mindfulness can help develop awareness about bad memories. It can help to reduce the impact on mental functioning. Meditation techniques enhance our ability to increase our attention, emotional control, and overall mental well-being.
6) Social Support and Healthy Coping Mechanisms:
One may engage with friends and family members to cope with our bad experiences. Support groups are also available where once share your thoughts and feelings with others. Several coping mechanisms such as exercise, engaging in hobbies, and relaxation techniques such as Yoga can help promote positive feelings about our physical and mental health by adopting healthy lifestyle choices.