Psychological Perspective

Why Do Old Bad Memories Come Back in Hard Times?


Generally, people do not remember sad things when they are happy.

But for some reason, only when we are cornered old unpleasant memories come back to us like flashbacks.

Why does this happen?

Is there a way to deal with it?

I am going to answer these questions in this article.


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The Worse the Memory, the More Important


We can easily forget a slightly unpleasant memory, but we can remember a very unpleasant experience forever.

This is because the brain determines that those bad memories are necessary for human survival.


For example, a man went to the southern forest to gather nuts, encountered a pack of wolves, and narrowly escaped with his life.

But what happens if he forgets about that horrible experience and goes to that forest again?

Would he be able to return home the next time?


Once you have had a horrible experience, you need to remember it as a lesson and apply it in the future.

For this purpose, the brain tries to store these unhappy memories as necessary data.


Thus, any little trigger will set off a buzzer in your head to warn you of danger.


When you remember the taste of the nuts you ate the other day and are about to head south to the woods again, the howling of wolves will ring in your head as the alarm bells.


You may still be realistically remembering embarrassing experiences from your high school days.

If so, it is probably because your brain thinks the memory must still serve you.

(But how that data will help you is a mystery.)



Bad Memories Come Back Only in Hard Times


There is also a rule about when bad memories come back as follows:

“Bad memories come back only when you are mentally hard.”


When people are happy, bad memories do not appear.

For some reason, however, bad memories come back one after another only when we are having a hard time, sad, angry, or stressed.


In this way, Thus our spirits are more and more cornered.

It is as if our brain is trying to torture us.



Why in the world does it work this way?

There is a valid reason for this.


Hard times are when your energy is low.

At such times, you need someone’s help and guidance.


That is why, in an attempt to rescue you, your brain searches through the old archives of your brain for records of old behaviors that might be useful.

That is the “unpleasant memory.


However, as I mentioned earlier, when you are in a hard time, you remember other unfortunate memories as if they were chasing you.

As a result, you feel even more depressed.



The brain always does something unnecessary.

I wish it would leave me alone when I’m having a hard time…



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Dare to Recall the Unpleasant Memory Vividly


Is there a way for us to escape the unnecessary help of the brain as described above?


Of course, there is, don’t worry.


Suppose, for example, you suddenly have a flashback of a sad memory from a previous workplace.

At that moment, you would try to expel the image from your mind as soon as it appears.


On the other hand, your brain thinks the opposite of you.

Your brain tries to strengthen that memory so it won’t lose that sad memory.


Now you know what to do.

You can let your brain know,

“How could I forget such an important memory?”


That is, you should not try to forget the unpleasant memory; on the contrary, you should dare to recall it vividly.

Who was around you when you had the experience?

And try to remember what they said to you.

How did you say it back?

Or what were you thinking?

Try to recall these things in detail.


If you only remember, you may easily forget.

If so, write them down on a piece of paper.

Then, if you want, you can put the paper on the wall in the bathroom for about three days.


If you do it this far, your brain will come to the following conclusion.

This guy seems to remember that bad experience very well.

And he seems to have learned his lesson.

Then I guess I don’t need to remind this guy of the same memory over and over again…


Of course, before you start, it may seem like hard work.

But when you actually start doing it, you will find it is not so difficult.

And finally, Your brain will take those bad memories off the “must-remember list.”



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