What Are Memories?

What Are Memories?

What are memories? Memories are the various information, and knowledge stored in the mind. Things we learn, observe, hear, experience, face an obstacle, difficulties, everything adds up to forming memories in the mind. It is a power to recall an incident which took place in the past for reference. Being with friends, spending time watching movie, having dinner parties, going for a night over, fighting with parents, expressing anger, getting triggered in a situation and reacting abruptly, are all examples of different situations where one builds up memories. Memories are not always happy, they can be sad, and can evoke deeply suppressed emotions as well.

Talking about memories, one can develop memories from a very young age. As people grow old those memories might fade away or it might also get overshadowed by the new memories. It is surprising at times when children remember something from the time when they were two or three year old. That is the evidence of how one can recall a memory from years back and bring a smile on their faces. People change, their behaviour changes as they grow old. The behaviour is moulded in each stage of development of a child, and each stage has its own essence of memories, good and bad both.

Memories are stored in the mind in two sections, one is short term memory and one is long term memory. Short term memory is where the information is stored for a short term and then it might go away from the mind if not rehearsed. Long term memory is where information is stored for a long term with a repetition of rehearsing the information. To sustain a particular set of information in the mind there is a need to train the mind and make the mind aware of the information and that it is important to be stored. For example trying to remember a phone number of a friend by rehearsing the number again and again. After several repetition effort, the number is stored in the long term memory which could be accessed in future whenever it is necessary. Another example of studying during examination, where one recalls the answers in order to write in the examination. Specific definitions, nursery poems, quotes, statements stay in the long term memory which one refers to even when they have become old. They don’t forget those things.

Is it the memories which affect the behaviour of an individual? Is it the thoughts which affect the behaviour of an individual? Confused? Yes, it can be a little confusing to make you think even more. Human being's nature of thinking is pre-existing in their personality. Thought processes are what affects the way one acts or reacts. Thinking about the past memories makes one analyse the present situations and then act upon them. This comes down to a point of memories and thoughts both affect behaviour of an individual. Past mistakes help an individual to be careful to take up steps for similar situations in future. Numerous memories have left trigger points, scars, guilt, happiness, excitement, fear etc. These emotions are attached to the memories which stay in the  mind. Disturbing events can leave drastic effects on the individuals behaviour. Trying to cope with such situations and then failing in it and suppressing that event deep down in the unconscious is something which can be an automatic response. Just like emotions, there are various thoughts attached to the event which can get triggered and pop up in similar events. When such sudden encounter with a situation takes place, the mind associates immediately with the past event which was suppressed deep in the unconscious, and the body gives a ‘fight or flight’ response. The thoughts and emotions all come back giving a shiver to the individual and other physiological responses as well. Behaviour can change, emotions can flip in a moment when a memory is recalled.

A famous quote by Dr.Suess, ‘Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory’. A lot of times, people are not able to process things they are experiencing, it can be overwhelming or too exciting or too much mixed emotions which cannot be expressed. The mind clicks a picture of the experiences one goes through. Recalling a memory is like remembering an image captured by the mind and then thinking about the jumbled emotions and understanding and processing the whole event all together.

A memory is meant to be priceless because it stays with an individual throughout their lives. The experiences, situations, the events end at some point of time, but the mental picture sticks with people forever which is the magic element of memories.

‘Experience everything and build memories’.

About the Author

Sharmishtha Chakraborty
Counselling Psychologist.

I, Sharmishtha Chakraborty am a Counselling Psychologist by profession. I have completed my Master's in Counselling

Leave a Reply

Related Posts