Stop Ruminating Over Your Cringey Memories with This Mental Trick

It’s 11PM, and you’ve had a busy and exhausting day. You’re lying in bed, excited for a good nights sleep so you can tackle tomorrow.

“What’s this?” your brain says. “Are you trying to get to sleep? Oh, great, here are 10 embarrassing memories from high school you can think about for the next hour!”

Thanks, brain.

We all have them: those past situations where you said something totally lame, made a fool of yourself, or performed some unintentional piece of physical comedy, three stooges style.

For some reason, certain types of people can brush these off and forget the whole thing ever happened. For others (probably testing higher on the “conscientious” personality trait), these memories will stick for a long time, actually eliciting a physical cringe when thinking about them. You get a flush of anxiety every single time they pop up.

It can be stopped.

 

THE MENTAL “NLP” EXERCISE THAT TAKES THE STING OUT OF ANY EMBARRASSING MEMORY

“NLP” stands for neuro-linguistic programming. That’s a big fancy word for the study and manipulation of how we talk to ourselves.

For many people, the brain is their own worst enemy. By training it just like you train your body at the gym, you might find your confidence, focus, and positive self-talk increase.

STEP ONE

Find the memory that is giving you so much trouble. Ah, there’s that jolt of stress again. Take a moment to relive it, and feel the negative emotions, for the last time. Close your eyes, and start slow, deep breathing through this entire process. Imagine yourself in a dark room.

STEP TWO

Now, replay the memory like you’re watching it on a big screen in front of you. This means you are watching yourself in the memory being acted out in front of you: do not consider yourself as a part of the moment!

STEP THREE

Let’s back away even further from the action. Imagine now you are watching yourself watch the memory. Trippy, huh? You are now twice removed from the scene and the negative emotion.

STEP FOUR

Here’s the big kicker: as the memory is playing, take that big screen and start shrinking it, pushing it farther and farther away from your persona. Make it so small and insignificant, sitting now on a tiny screen far away in the corner of the room.

STEP FIVE

Great job. Now, think of an extremely positive memory where you had fun, made an impact, or felt truly connected with yourself. Pick something where you felt in control, powerful, and calm. You could also take the initial memory and make it ridiculous. Put everyone involved in goofy clown suits, or turn it into a cartoon.

STEP SIX

As you watch the big screen memory and begin to push it back, “swap” it with your new, happier memory. Throw the embarrassing situation into the corner on the small screen while the awesome or silly moment takes over your entire view. Smile in real life while you watch your own persona smile, and take a deep breath. Relax, and feel the memory losing its hold on you. It’s too far away from the real you to matter anymore.

STEP SEVEN

Now, you must repeat this process, 5-10 times. Play the memory again on the big screen, shrink it down to a silly little scene you can barely see, and then wipe it away. Replace it with your new and improved thoughts . You’re going to notice with every replay, your physical response will decrease drastically!

This is no joke; it’s extremely effective, so try it on for size. Depending on how far this memory has dug into your brain, it may take just a few more sessions to completely eliminate the cringe.

 

MOVING FORWARD

You deserve to be free from self-sabotage. Exercises like this are the perfect way to give yourself all the advantages you need for a better self-image. After a few of these exercises, you’ll be able to look back and laugh on whatever used to haunt you. You’re in control now.

If you’re interested in taking this process to the next level, check out Neurolifts. It’s a strategic “mental fitness program” we’ve designed, that works just like a physical one!

You can pick a path like more creativity or less stress, and complete exercises that progress in strength as you grow. Download Neurolifts and leave a field report with your thoughts on this exercise below.

WANT TO STRENGTHEN YOUR MIND LIKE A BODYBUILDER DOES A BODY?

WANT TO SET YOUR GOALS AND DAILY HABITS FOR THE LAST TIME?

FIELD REPORTS

Leave a comment!

2 Comments

  1. Melissa

    When I first tried it took me a while to think of a memory that made me feel truly happy and confident in myself which made me realize how dark a place I’m actually in. But once I found one to use I realized how powerful this exercise is because it forced me to dig down and find that happiness. Also, I noticed that when I picture myself watching myself on tv my feelings about it are nowhere near as harsh as when I relive the memory as myself. And then watching myself watch myself watch the tv is even less harsh. There are really so many levels to how important and useful this technique really is.

    Reply

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