Memories are often a good thing, but like everything else, they have a flip side. While happy ones may bring you joy, the not-so-good ones will only bring pain and diminish your confidence when you need it most. It is definitely a nifty trick knowing how to forget something at will. Although your body has its own defence mechanism and natural drifting of memories is a big part of that, knowing how to do it at will would be a big help for people who are trying to turn over a fresh leaf.
10 Effective Ways to Erase Your Bad Memories
Throw away the triggers
You might have noticed that apart from the memory itself, there are some things that bring it back more often than not. These are your triggers. Your subconscious mind registers your memories and links them to certain objects which you see or keep around you. The key to know how to forget something that is linked with those objects is to identify the objects themselves and keep them out of sight. Eventually, your memory would surface less and less and fade away gradually. It all starts with removing what reminds you of it.
Think of it repeatedly
This might be more than a little painful, especially depending on your memory so I wouldn't suggest blindly trying out this step. If it is not too drastic, go on the offense. Think about the memory until you get used to it. Like everything else, your mind gets used to something if you keep at it for too long. When you remind yourself of it, the bad memory stops holding the same power that it used to and again, it'll diminish in magnitude and intensity until it doesn't matter to you anymore.
Fool the brain
Contrary to intuitive logic, the brain is pretty stupid all by itself. It can be fooled into reacting a certain way without much ado. For instance, if you tell yourself something again and again, the brain will soon interpret it as the truth irrespective of whether it really is. This step refers to memory alteration. Think hard and clear about the part of the memory that disturbs you and change it into something more digestible. Now this might be hard at first but as mentioned before, if you keep at it long enough, it'll come just as easily as thinking.
Usher positive thinking
If you want to know how to forget something distressing, you are going to have to implement this step sooner or later. You see, just forgetting the bad parts doesn't help with your mind frame. You are also going to have to keep yourself mixed up in positivity. After all, happiness is the best way to forget sorrow in one's life. Granted, you could sit at one place and try as hard as you like to forget it, but most people would agree just going out with your friends and having a good time is a better cure.
Live in the moment
It is important to realize that your memory is called so because it happened in the past. Try as hard as you might, you cannot go back there to change things. The smart way to deal with it is to live in the present. Focus on the good things in your life at this present moment: it could be anything from your job to your family. Maybe even your favourite food. Treat yourself, take care of yourself. This is the best way to get over past hardships. Once you feel better about your life at this current moment, the past won't really matter anymore.
Keep yourself busy
This is pretty obvious. It is no secret that in order to forget about the past, you need to live in the present (as mentioned before). Keep yourself busy and interested with new things. This keeps the brain from being idle; every time you get idle, you will tend to brood over the past. In order to keep that from happening, find new hobbies, make new friends and generally just do things you haven't done before but wanted to.
Stay off substance!
Okay, it might seem like a really good escape to stay occupied with alcohol or drugs, but it's not. It might make you feel better about the past for a few short moments but it comes at a high cost: your future. It is not a smart move to compromise your future for something unfortunate that happened to you in the past. Quite frankly, that's just weak. Anyhow, substance might not make you forget that memory; it might instead intensify your negative feelings and make you do foolish things.
Take care of your health
A healthy body reflects a healthy mind. Stay physically unwell during times of mental distress isn't the best way to go about your life. So when your mind needs the extra little bit, your body needs to be in perfect shape to complement it. Eat healthy, go running or just work out. Incidentally, sweating it out removes all unnecessary thoughts out of your head. It is no secret that running gives people a sort of high which comes from regulating thought activity in your head. So, eat well, exercise and soon you'll find that the memory is no longer of any importance.
Talk it out
Once you have accepted the events of the past in your mind, you are ready for the next step: to talk it out. It could be a friend or someone in your family or even a counsellor. Keeping negativity to yourself isn't the best way to deal with sadness. Saying it out loud will help make your memory more digestible and you will find it easier to accept and can get over it more easily. Having a friend listen to you is the way to implement this step.
Consult an expert
Finally, because bad memories have greatly varying scales, it is best if you consider the option of psychotherapy or an expert who can guide you to rehabilitation. Learning how to forget something on your own works fine if your memory isn't drastically serious. But for people who have been through the rock bottom of life, do make sure you have an expert on speed dial! Best of luck!