Does Every Negative Memory Need To Be Unearthed?

All of our negative, unresolved memories exist in the left hemisphere of the brain.  These memories are stored out of context, which means that the broader circumstances of how they happened aren’t stored well. Either are many of the facts. They can be out of sequence. They are stored in a sort of way that allows us to use them to justify our emotions and to remember in ways that helps us remain afraid, untrusting or “justifiably” angry. They are “unexamined” emotions and they are not well integrated. Unintegrated negative memories mean that we can react from them without really sorting them out or being in command of them.

It is the right hemisphere that does the work of “getting the larger picture” and of integrating the negativity of the left hemisphere. It does so in a way that diffuses strong negative emotion and allows us to learn from and make sense of what seems negative.

There are two ways this process of integration can happen. By relaxing and reflecting on a negative memory, the right hemisphere helps to add context, enlarges our memory, and allows us to be more understanding, to make sense of things.

This needs to happen with larger significant negative memories that bother us.  However, if you take the time to notice, with the passing of time that is characterized by increasing positivity, these negative memories simply become integrated.  “NeuroPositivity©”  is the capacity of the brain to “shed the skins” of the past. There is an integrative, healing work that the brain does with negative memory, over time, that heals and makes us whole, without having to unearth and talk about every negative memory.

Some negative memories need to be talked through, not just rehashed again through the left hemisphere. But they need to be talked through within the integrative embrace of the right hemisphere. It isn’t going to do you any good to go over negatives of the past if you are just replaying, in the negative hemisphere, your narrow memory of a bad event. You have to establish a context of allowing the right hemisphere to enfold, embrace, and examine that memory.

But here is the good news. NeuroPositivity heals. Neuropathways of the brain that have been built and established into a stable UpSpiral create positivity that heals and integrates. It gives the right hemisphere more time to work in both our waking and our sleeping hours. When positivity is the more dominant sound track of our everyday lives, this integration of the negative memories in the left hemisphere is just happening over time.

No, you do not have to unearth every negative memory to experience I=E. Your emotional integration will show itself in the emotions in which you live. NeuroPositivity is this state of integrated emotion.


1) How have you used the power of the right hemisphere to integrate negative memories? What tools do you have to support you in “getting the bigger picture” of the past? How have you used them?

2) “Shedding the skins of the past…” How has your use of our work helped you to more effectively move ahead from negative past memories? What “skins” have you shed? What tools of our work have you used?

3) The blog suggests that the degree to which you have successfully integrated positive and negative emotion will show up in the overall emotional “balance” in your life. How has this happened for you? What has this journey to greater integration been for you? Give us an example of the ANI tools and strategies you have used successfully.

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute