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Updated on September 4, 2013


Have you ever wished that all the bad memories in your life would go away? Just to clean your mind to the point that you wouldn't experience negative thoughts of revenge, resentment, bitterness, and regret anymore?

We all have some kind of skeleton in our closet, and we all wish sometimes in our lives to have done things better, nothing wrong with that!. Being human beings implies that we will make mistakes in life, because that's the only way we will learn to live.

A Chinese philosopher said once that: “What counts is not how many mistakes we make, but the positive lessons we learn from our mistakes”.

However, it would be nice if after we learn the lesson, we could just dispose of the bad memories forever.

Some people have learned to have selective memory. They have a way to wrap up the bad memories, and place them inside of the mind's storage room. Others, just live tortured by them.


The truth is that we all have the ability to have selective memory. It is just a matter of practice and determination. First, we need to realize that bad memories, cannot be erased from our mind, only replaced by positive memories. It works by association and it involves all our senses.

It doesn't happen overnight either, it can take some time and lots of discipline. So, if you are determined to quiet your bad memories, stopping those “ghosts” from wondering around your mind, making your present life miserable, there are only two tools you will need: Control and patience.

The replacement technique starts by acknowledging that our body is designed with natural defenses against external threats. For example: I read years ago about this woman, who suffered of a chronic pain in her stomach. She had this condition almost all her life, and the doctors could not figure it out why. During a vacation with her family, she got into a serious sky accident where she damage a couple of ribs, and resulted with a broken pelvis. While the doctors were operating on her, something in her stomach got their attention, it looked like a cocoon of some kind. Amazingly, this woman's body defense mechanism, had wrap up a pair of scissors creating thick tissue around it, to isolate it from the rest of her body, for years! Then, when asked by the doctors, she remember she had an appendicitis operation, at the age of 15. The woman was 45 years old, and she had lived with that pair of scissors inside of her for 30 years!.

Our mind has also a defense mechanism against harmful memories which are stored in what we commonly call: the back of the mind. They can stay there forever, until an external stimulus triggers the bad memories of a specific person or event. Unfortunately, this happens more often than expected, because our senses are directly attached to our memories. Therefore, a smell, the sight of something, an old song, just about everything of this nature, can result on that memory popping in our mind unexpectedly, it just happens in a matter of seconds.

For years, scientists have attempted to create some kind of method to remove bad memories forever. Dr. Richard L. Huganir Ph.D, professor and director of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, conducted a study with mice based in fear. Huganir and his team arrived to the conclusion that when inducing fear to mice, a protein called AMPAR (calcium-permeable) increased on the nerve cells. Huganir then concluded: "The idea was to remove these proteins and weaken the connections in the brain created by the trauma, thereby erasing the memory itself," he also added: “This may one day be applicable for the treatment of debilitating fearful memories in people, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome associated with war, rape or other traumatic events”.

It is good to know that this experiment might work in the future, to remove the fear of extreme traumatic experiences. However, most of the common bad memories are related to life experiences such as bitter divorces, having been bullied at some point in our lives, problems with our kids that were never resolved, being laid-off or fired unfairly, etc.

Dealing with bad memories is unique for each individual, and so it is how we chose to “deal” with them.

Now, we already know that bad memories cannot be erased, but we can develop our own way to control them, just like we do with those pop-out on the Internet.


It was 1983 when I got divorced from my first husband. I am not going to enter in details on what happened, and why I got divorced. The important thing here, is to share my experience about how I did deal with my bad divorce memories years later. After 7 years of marriage and being an abused wife, I decided to get divorced one day. While I was hearing him yelling at me, and insulting me, I started playing with the edge of my pillowcase, rubbing it between my fingers over and over again. All the sudden, I realized that his voice was going away, and all I had in my mind was the feeling of the fabric in my skin. I continue to do this every time he would start verbally abusing me, until one day, I was able to leave him forever. To this day, I cannot remember anything about those days, except the feeling of my fingers rubbing the edge of my pillow case.

I had no idea then, that I have developed my own technique to replace my bad memories.

I have read a lot of articles about erasing memories, some of them would “guarantee” to get rid of them forever. There is no such a thing as erasing memories, they are engraved in our mind forever, like the information contained in the hard disk of a computer.

Like the case of the pair of scissors inside of the woman's stomach for years, which I mentioned before in this article, the mind will wrap up the bad memories, and keep them on stand-by, until an external stimulus bring them back to our present time. If we learn to control this, we should be able to avoid them.

I read another article where they described how to replace the bad memories with good ones, or deviate them by replacing them with a specific object or feeling. Just like I did with my divorce and my pillow case! I requires a lot of patience, but it works. You don't need any pills or sophisticated techniques, just a peaceful place where you can meditate, and a list of the bad memories you want to replace. This is a time consuming way to do it, but it will gradually work for you. One bad memory at a time, slowly, but surely. Here we go:

-Pick a bad memory, start with little bad memories, such as the embarrassing moment when you were a teenager, and some kids were bullying you at the school cafeteria. Close your eyes and even if it hurts, picture that moment in your mind, try to remember the details too.

-Open your eyes and concentrate in the first object you see in front of you (the turned off TV, a lamp, a picture, your dog, whatever it is) stare at it for a few seconds, and close your eyes again. Repeat this over and over again, until you close your eyes and all you see in your mind, is that object, and not the bad memory anymore.

-Every time some external stimulus trigger that memory, immediately thing about that object, memories work by association, if you learn how to control this reaction, you will eventually replace your bad memory.

-If you are going through a bad moment in your life right now, remember that this present moment, will become a bad memory for you in the future, so start your replacement technique now. Try to practice what I did. Now, everyone is different, but I found out that it has a lot to do with deep concentration. If you can shelter your mind somehow while going through a crisis, chances are that you will be less traumatized, when you remember your negative life experience, in the future.

-Finally, if what you are trying to do, is to forget someone who was special in your life at one point, the best way to do it, is to never think about the good times you had together. Instead, try to remember all the bad things that person did to you. In this case, you want to replace the good memories, with the bad ones, because you are trying to convince yourself, that this person was never good for you. Time will take care of balancing these negative thoughts about this person, once you have healed completely.

It might sound kind of crazy but it worked for me! I'm pretty sure that the bad memories of my first marriage, still hiding somewhere in my mind . However, every time I have tried to intentionally bring them back to my memory, I just can't!

Cleaning your mind always results in a more positive attitude toward life. It feels you up with good energy, and happiness. After all, living your life in your best disposition, is what it is all about. You only live..once!


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