Overcoming Traumas: How To Forget Bad Memories

Michel Gondry’s much-acclaimed film, ‘Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind,’ pitched an interesting idea. What if we deciphered how to forget bad memories? What if there was a way to erase the unwanted memories of grief, despair, hurt, embarrassment, or anger? 

For some people, memories fade away easily. However, it is not easy for most of us to get over our past memories with just a snap of our fingers. It takes much more effort and time than that. Especially for people with social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, forgetting a bad memory can get even more complex. They can constantly feel as if they are reliving their past experiences. For others, bad memories might resurface later in life and cause immense emotional stress.

This is why learning how to forget bad memories is important. Let us dive deeper into how memory works to understand the steps you need to take to forget a bad memory or lessen its impact on your life, at the very least.

How To Forget Bad Memories

How does memory work?

The basic working structure of memories can be divided into three parts – encoding, storing, and retrieving. Encoding is the process of learning new information. It is the work of brain proteins. The proteins start forming new connections when your brain is stimulated with any information. The brain stores the information in either short-term or long-term memory. 

Short-term memories do not generally last long in the brain. However, some of them are passed in long-term memory, which is endless. Retrieval is the recalling our memories. This can happen due to several triggers like certain sights, sounds, smells, etc. 

While we forget most things, our brains are designed to remember memories that have strong feelings and emotions attached to them. In a study by Michel Gondry and team, participants recalled memories attached to positive or negative emotions much more quickly than neutral ones. 

Scientists have tried to understand how to forget bad memories for a long time. You can employ certain strategies and techniques to prevent traumatic memories from impacting your life. Let us understand some of the most effective strategies to forget bad memories.

The Most Effective Solutions On How To Forget Bad Memories

1. Address your triggers.

Do your bad memories come up in specific situations or around specific people? Does a similar set of situations trigger them?

Finding answers to these questions will give you a clear picture of the triggers causing you to recall your memories. Once you understand your triggers, you can take steps to address and deal with them effectively.

Read more: What It Means To Truly Savor The Moment

2. Improve your thought process.

Your thought process plays an essential role in how your brain stores and perceives memories. What goes around in your head is under your control. This realization of you being in charge of your thoughts and emotions is extremely important. Now, whenever you feel bad memories flooding your brain, utilize your control power and replace or substitute them with something else. Distracting your mind from the constant string of negative thoughts and bad memories can help you forget them.

3. Get professional help.

While there are a lot of things that you can do to forget bad memories or lessen their impact, there are certain times when you should consider seeking proper professional help. If your bad memories are disrupting your regular life and causing other symptoms like depression, anxiety, or feelings of constant stress and panic — connecting to a professional is the best way forward.

Read more: Best Online Therapy Platforms


It is normal to think back on the past. But when memories of the past start disrupting your present life, it is important to take active steps to deal with them. We hope these above-suggested ways will help you figure out how to forget bad memories and move forward in life.

Past memories can often fill you up with guilt and remorse. You regret the chances you could have taken and all the things you could have done differently. This regret can deeply impact your life and obstruct your growth. To learn effective ways to overcome regret, click here.

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