World Mental Healthcare Association

Relishing Positive Memories Can Reduce Mental Health Problems, New Study Finds

Relishing Positive Memories Can Reduce Mental Health Problems
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Mental Health News: Researchers found that thinking of positive memories can generate positive emotions, which have a range of benefits including reducing attention to and experiences of threat.

The experiment involved 123 participants who were asked to recall a recent positive memory of being with another person and to complete the ‘social Broad Minded Affective Coping (BMAC)’ technique sheet. BMAC is an intervention that aims to elicit positive affect or emotion through the use of mental imagery of a positive memory.

Later the participants followed auditory instructions which guided them through an initial relaxation exercise and the social BMAC.The relaxation exercise helps participants to focus attention to themselves and the present moment. 

Participants were encouraged to engage all the senses, when savouring positive memories. They completed self-report measures of self-attacking (thinking mean, diminishing, insulting, and shaming thoughts about oneself), social safeness (feelings of warmth and connectedness) and pleasure before and after the intervention.

Researchers monitored individuals’ emotional reactions to a guided mental imagery task focussing on positive social memory that elicits positive affect or emotion. They also examined possible predictors of individuals’ responses to this intervention. 

Results showed that safe/warm positive affect, relaxed positive affect and feelings of social safeness increased following the social BMAC, whilst negative affect decreased. The study findings indicate that  BMAC can be an effective method to improve mood amongst individuals with mental health problems such as depression. 

To Know More You May Refer To 

Natasha Holden, James Kelly, Mary Welford, Peter J. Taylor. Emotional response to a therapeutic technique: The social Broad Minded Affective Coping. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/papt.12095

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