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Memory - Change Negative Thinking

Updated on August 6, 2015
brakel2 profile image

Audrey's Psychology/Sociology degree helped to create her interest in the workings of the brain.

Change Negative Thinking Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Did you ever have a memory problem in which negative thinking became overwhelming? A negative thought might remain in your memory bank in the very front of the brain, occupying hours of your day. You are not alone. I have an excellent memory, but remember the bad and good vividly, creating a liability for myself. A physician once told me a good memory might be an asset or a liability. I certainly agree. Mr. B., a man with a similar problem, requires his wife to monitor what he hears, due to his superior memory to remember good and bad or positive and negative. Luckily, I found ways to deal with this problem with psychological techniques called cognitive behavior therapy. Some examples follow:

Sad Man
Sad Man
A pleasant scene
A pleasant scene | Source

Techniques for altering negative patterns

One day, a wealthy striking young woman, loved by everyone, was brutally murdered near my home. Her stepbrother discovered her in a closet with her one-year-old child still alive. The story, vividly described in the newspaper,made me realize that she was an acquaintance of a close relative. I kept seeing that scene repeatedly, with increasing anxiety,, until I changed the picture.

1. I changed the scene from color to black and white in my mind and moved the scene far away, as my brain put the scene out of my mind. I also could have added a step and blown it away, like blowing out a candle. My picture changed.

When my husband had heart problems, the physician scheduled him for open-heart surgery. At that time, I had to change the picture to eliminate negative thinking about the outcome of his surgery.

2. I put a picture in my mind of my husband smiling after the surgery as the physicians declared it a success. Every time I thought about the surgery, I put the picture in my mind of my husband smiling as he emerged from the operating room. It was an overpowering feeling and took away any negativity.

I worked for many years at a stressful job. It was vital to avoid as much as possible thinking or talking about work outside of work. I changed the picture.

3. One of the solutions was to put a rubber band on my finger to remind me to avoid work talk. Another alternative was to replace a thought with other preplanned thoughts of pleasant people or scenes. Meditating or listening to a relaxing tape was also helpful.

One of my relatives works in the finance industry. Due to the crisis several years ago, the company began laying off employees, while others quit for better jobs. Every Friday, co-workers left with no warning. She was devastated.

4. She decided on a technique that worked for her. She pretended she did not work at the firm and disassociated herself from her job. Thus, when people left, the blow lessened, and soon she accepted the situation. She could have used another technique of painting a picture in her mind of office life before the upheaval, or a picture of what it would be like when it ended. Fortunately, times got better for the company, so this mind technique ceased. Changing negative thinking in your memory can become an automatic procedure with repetition.

Techniques can be successful

The above scenarios represent examples of cognitive behavior therapy. It represents a therapy, which teaches that our thoughts cause our feelings. Thus, if people can change their thoughts, they can discard negative feelings through this process. The changes take place over a period of time with practice by the individuals, and experts call it the cognitive model of emotional response. It is usually a technique between therapist and patient. However, some people find it possible to learn the process themselves. Success can mean a total new outlook on life and an uplifting experience that can can last forever. Memory processes improve as a person changes the negative thinking by painting a new picture.

Pleasant waterfall
Pleasant waterfall
Poor sad child
Poor sad child
Child participates in group therapy.
Child participates in group therapy. | Source


The girlfriend of a famous golfer refused to marry him due to his negative attitude. He changed very quickly. Some people cannot prevent negative thinking due to trauma or other issues. Those persons need to seek help and may have a long road to travel. The key to becoming successful is determination.. Reach out to others in positive friendliness. Be kind, be nice, and smile. These attempts will make our world a better place for all mankind . If you do not have a kind word to say to someone, say nothing or think of something kind.. The efforts of one person at a time can change the negativity that exists in our society.

Disclaimer: This article is not a substitute for professional help. Please see a therapist if you feel the need. I have a degree in Psychology, and the resource material is listed. Thank you.

Video on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


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    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Linda Thanks for reading my article about negative thinking. I have tried to do this with several incidents, and it often works. You are right that it does get your brain used to a new way of thinking. It does help to undergo therapy for serious issues, according to experts. Blessings, Audrey

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      3 years ago from Arizona

      I've heard this type of therapy is used to help overcome addiction. It is logical it can help anyone dealing with negative thought patterns. It's just like physical exercise--getting seldom-used muscles accustomed to new movements. You need to get your brain accustomed to a new way of thinking and behaving. Thanks for sharing!

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Thanks PDS for reading my article and for the nice comments. You are right that sometimes it is difficult to change negative thinking. Then you can try to take one thing at a time or take a break to rest the brain. Nutrition is important, as you say. The food you eat is important. Berries and fruits and vegetables are good for the brain. A hubber wrote an article and put a beautiful photo in it to look at and breathe and try to move from a bad to a good mood. It works pretty well. People on this site are so talented.

      Have a great day. I do like your hubs.

    • paradigmsearch profile image

      Person of Interest 

      5 years ago from USA

      A lot of good information in this article. Nutrition can also play an important factor. I have likewise learned that when overcome with a negative thought, to deliberately and consciously change the subject. Sometimes it's easier than other times, but I'm usually able to succeed.

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Alastar - Yes, if you are thinking of something and cannot get it out of your mind, it is obsessive compulsive behavior, and can be assisted with Cog, therapy. Sorry to be so late in thanking you for reading my article. I appreciate your profound knowledge on this subject. You are indeed a good commenter and good writer.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Good solutions for negative thinking with the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Brakel since you have knowledge in this field let me ask you this: in your opinion does OCD in its acute state have any connections to what's written here, and if so could the Cog.Therapy also apply to it?

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Thank you Kkg for the kind remarks about my article. Sometimes it is difficult to change memory, but is worth the effort. If too many crises happen in a brief time, it becomes a challenge. You are right about the importance of avoiding negative people if you can. I enjoy your writing and look forward to reading more hubs. Happy writing

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great hub. It is harder for some than others to change their negative thinking. I find if you are around someone who views the world negatively it is harder to keep your own positive outlook. Great examples and suggestions. Up, useful and interesting.

    • Escobana profile image


      7 years ago from Valencia

      Hi there Brakel!

      Would love to make a connection. I like your style and background in life. I'll make sure I'll read your Hubs as well. Great to have found you and hope to see you around a lot:-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago


      A final note. I just got a big grin when I noticed the pic you've included in this hub, a beautiful waterfall scene (I loveeeee waterfalls, by the way), has the source listed as I have to admit, that cracked me up, lol!

      I'm a mortician and and was a med and transplant tech for a good long while, and, ah well ... I just found it very funny!

      It's a beautiful shot and I've never pulled time in any morgue that came complete with a waterfall. (grin!)

    • profile image


      7 years ago


      I gotta say, I LOVED this Hub!!!

      I've been all over the positive begetting positive thing for a good while now, however, until I read this, it hadn't occurred to me to consider changing a memory.

      I have a whole lot of them to start revamping, lol!

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Thank you Escobana. It is so nice to hear from you and great that you read my hub. I am glad that you were reminded of the techniques. I have read your profile and a hub, and I am so proud of you for living such a great life. It sounds like you are truly enjoying every minute. It is hard to get rid of negative feelings sometimes. When things are going great and then the sky falls in, we just pick ourselves up and thank God to be alive. I also saw a poem of yours that is fantastic. I will be reading more of your hubs. Maybe we can connect on this site. It is my pleasure to get to know people like you. Happy writing.

    • Escobana profile image


      7 years ago from Valencia

      Great Hub! Written in a very good way, making it possible to almost visualize what you mean to say.

      I was in therapy for eight years and to this day, I use some of the techniques I learned, in order to make negative thinking 'go away'.

      Your Hub made me remember of this specific technique! When life takes its course, you sometimes forget the about all the great things you've learned.

      Thanks for reminding me! Voted up and shared!

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Thank you Gary for reading my hub. I know how knowledgeable you are I can link to your hub for the additional information you mentioned. It is not an easy process to get rid of negative feelings. It takes time and effort. I hope you are somewhat recovered from the wreck.

    • qlcoach profile image

      Gary Eby 

      7 years ago from Cave Junction, Oregon

      Yes to the power of Cognitive Therapy. As you know I'm a retired mental health counselor and addiction therapist. I have learned over the years that stressful emotions need to be vented before positive thinking can take hold. If you have some time, please check out more of "What I Know." Peace and Light...Gary.


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