Updated: Jan 15
12th February 2019
How Time can Heal all wounds
It is often said that Time heals all wounds, that time by itself heals all wounds, that all we have to do is sit back and over time, the painful feelings of anger, loneliness, fear, guilt, sadness, depression, anxiety all fade away. To some extent the sharpness of a painful memory reduces over time because of the way our brain operates and processes information.
When we have any experience, our brain holds the details of that experience as short term memory and depending on how deeply we resonate with the experience, the details are transferred to our long term memory circuits. For any experience, the contextual details of the memory such as time, location etc are transferred to the hippocampus and the emotional details of the memory are transferred to the amygdala. Depending on our neural circuits, we may be more inclined to positive or negative emotions. If we have experienced severe trauma, our brain is altered such that we are more inclined to irrational emotions and over arousal.
The good news that Science has shown is that even though an experience induced fear or even positive emotions at a time, the memory and the emotions can change. They can change one way or another. For instance, we often find that when we try to recall a memory from the past, the details have changed slightly or we may even have forgotten them.
As time goes by, as life goes on, we continue to have a range of experiences which continue to be stored in our long term memory. The malleable, reconstructive flexible structure of the brain, means that regardless of the original memory, the information we continue to store and the emotions we continue to attach to those memories can change.
What this means in our day to day reality is that, over time, we can choose to rehearse the same unhelpful memories again and again, continuing to embed the original emotions or we can choose to introduce new memories and create more positive emotions.
We can use tools that resonate with us to create more helpful memories and positive emotions. Whether we realise it or not, our brains are constantly reconstructing our memories and recreating our emotions. If you think about an event that happened some years ago, the memory and the emotions attached to that event will somehow be different than when they actually happened. The heartbreak or lost opportunity of some years ago can feel different but still present or they can be forgotten.
Time can heal all wounds as we take the time to transform the unhelpful stored memories and emotions to create more helpful memories and emotions. As much as some of the pain fades away in and of itself as time passes, we often need to be active in transforming our deeper stronger memories an emotions.
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