2016 Mental Health Month: Recollecting positive memories from past may help cure mental illnesses

2016 Mental Health Month: Recollecting positive memories from past may help cure mental illnesses

Memories can be good, bad, vivid and hazy. There are situations when people recall the good times spent in the past, hoping to cope with the strangeness of the present and uncertainty of the future. People hold on to pieces of the past while awaiting a new future.

Elucidating on how positive memories can impact one’s life, scientists at the University of Liverpool explained how positive recollections of the past can give way to positive emotions. A recent study, titled “Emotional Response to a Therapeutic Technique: The social Broad Minded Affective Coping (BMAC),” revealed that reminiscences about the past that generate optimism can help diminish experiences of threat felt by those suffering from a mental disorder.

Positive social memory helps dispel negativity

The latest study intended to examine the emotional reactions of 123 participants recruited for the study through an online process. The scientists examined emotional reactions to a guided mental imagery assignment, paying particular attention to the aspect of positive social memory, identified as the social Broad Minded Affective Coping (BMAC) method.

The participants took part in tasks involving self-attacking, social safeness and pleasure and measured their effectiveness themselves. The researchers assessed probable indicators of the respondents’ reactions with the aid of BMAC intervention hoping that the results obtained would assist in pinpointing when the social BMAC method may be employed efficiently in clinical settings.

As a part of the study, the respondents were then required to recollect the latest positive memory of being with someone and then asked to fill in the details as asked in the social BMAC prompt sheet. The participants were then made to follow auditory instructions, which allowed them to relax and guide through the social BMAC.

The scientists had devised the method to help the respondents turn their attention to themselves and the moment in hand. The BMAC technique helped the respondents relive the positive memories they had. They were also persuaded to get involved in all the senses, engage their minds in looking for meaning of what they had remembered, recall the positive emotions they had gone through and then take into consideration the positive feelings in another’s mind and what they mean to them. The respondents were then asked to cherish the emotions themselves.

The respondents then evaluated the positive and adverse impacts and the sense of social safeness or pleasure prior to and after the BMAC intervention.

BMAC: An effective tool to boost mood among mentally ill

The researchers observed that the sense of warm and relaxed feelings along with the emotions associated with social safety increased as a result of the social BMAC, while the negative impact reduced considerably.

In the study, published in the journal Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice in April 2016, Dr. Peter Taylor of the University’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society and co-author of the study said, “The results provide preliminary support for the effectiveness of the social BMAC in activating specific types of emotion. These results suggest that the BMAC has the potential to be a practical and effective method for boosting mood amongst individuals with specific mental health problems such as anxiety or depression.”

Road to recovery

Since 1949, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and participants across the United States observe the month of May as the “Mental Health Month,” creating awareness about the rising number of Americans falling prey to mental illnesses and to uphold the necessity of providing support and equal care to all.

It is imperative to know about mental illnesses and seek treatment at the earliest. Erasing bad memories and recollecting good ones is a kind of technique being adopted by medical practitioners in treating mental disorders at various mental health facilities. One needs to be alert to understand the symptoms of mental disorder for proper treatment at the right time.

If you or your loved one is battling any form of mental illness, the Sovereign Mental Health Services is willing to help. Chat online with one of our experts today or call at the 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 for further information.

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