It’s the smell or taste of a favorite Christmas cookie or the special food only eaten this time of year. The way Mom always made everyone feel equally loved with her unique and thoughtful gifts for each person. Traditions, rituals and memories all come flooding into our consciousness this time of year.
These scenes can bring warm memories like a hug from the past. But some can bring pangs of grief, regret or other sad thoughts. It’s important to acknowledge our memories and feelings from the past that intersect our present. But dwelling on them can cause depressive thoughts and can also lead to cognitive (thinking) deficits, according to research.
Many people believe negative begets negative and this research also proves it can also interfere with our thinking processes. In the study, when depressed individuals kept thinking depressive thoughts, it interfered with the person’s ability to keep their train of thought and subsequently affected their thinking and mental performance.
When sad or bittersweet memories come to your mind this season, honor them with acknowledgement. But try not to dwell on them, or at least try to see the positive in each situation and apply it to today. How do you honor your memories of the past? By incorporating the best parts into the memories you create today.
Don’t linger on the sad or difficult memories of the past. Learn from them and move on making new and positive memories you can look back upon with happiness and love. This will greatly enhance your holiday season and your cognitive function as well!
Nicholas A. Hubbard, Joanna L. Hutchison, D. Zachary Hambrick, Bart Rypma. The enduring effects of depressive thoughts on working memory. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2016; 190: 208 DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.06.056