I get a lot of questions about how to retrieve memories with hypnosis or self-hypnosis.
It is not that difficult. Let’s see.
What is a memory and why can’t we retrieve it?
Memories are all kind of information that we get in contact with: pictures, sounds, events, experiences, literally everything.
They are stored in a network of associations. It is more like a cobweb than a storyline.
The most significant misunderstanding about memory is that it is linear and chronological.
That is far from the truth. Memory is independent of time. Just think about childhood experiences. Some of those events seem more recent than what you, experienced two days before.
If we want to have more control over our memory, we need to understand the laws that apply to it.
The rules of memory
I. The “strength” of a particular memory depends on the emotional charge stored within it and not its recentness.
II. Memories are NOT objective, even when we think our recollections are correct. All memories are subjective.
III. What we seem to have forgotten still lives within us. If we didn’t process the experience and it holds an emotional charge within it, it will affect us, whether we are aware of it or not. That is the cause of many PTSD symptoms.
IV. If we live in the past, we recreate the past experiences. We get into loops, where we get stuck.
Hypnosis makes you able to access and retrieve memories, even if long-forgotten
Hypnosis or self-hypnosis is a unique tool to recall a specific event.
It is even used to retrieve the memories that were taken away by amnesia.
Because your brain stored everything, you ever seen, heard or experienced in smallest details.
Memories that you no longer needed or deep inside you felt you wanted to forget, were not lost. They merely sank down into your subconscious.
I will show you some tricks and tips on how to retrieve memories, though
1. First of all, you need to go into a focused trance state.
If you have issues with focusing or getting profoundly relaxed practice techniques that will improve your suggestibility. (Subscribe to my Self-hypnosis Tips and Tricks Newsletter and mini-course here to learn self-hypnosis and suggestibility techniques.)
For example, close your eyes and imagine that there is a fantastic, colorful, bright balloon tied to your hand. Feel as your hand gets lighter and lighter until it lifts up. Thus you teach your mind to
- switch to the subconscious mode
- to accept suggestions and act upon them.
2. Focus on the feelings, textures, sensations, sounds, temperature, surroundings, etc. connected to that time. By focusing on the sensory information, you avoid getting into the logical, left-brain mode.
3. Imagine the insignificant, small details of that time. Like the taste of your favorite ice-cream, you used to buy at the corner.
4. Recall the feeling of remembering. Don’t force yourself to remember the actual events. Evoke that feeling you have when some pleasant memory pops into your mind. That triggers your subconscious to bring up the information.
5. Be sure you are READY to remember, be sure you ACCEPT the memory. It can be a traumatic memory, and there can be a reason why you buried it in your subconscious. If you are not yet ready, don’t push it.
6. It can be that you only get pieces of memories or seemingly irrelevant information. Maybe you feel it’s inaccurate. Chronologically perhaps mixed up. It’s no problem. Be ready to accept it. Accept whatever comes, in whatever form it comes. Thus you encourage your subconscious to work on it.
7. Be grateful. Reward yourself for any results.
8. Be patient. It is crucial. If you are impatient, you will break the rapport that is the cooperative connection with your subconscious.
9. Use post-hypnotic suggestions to bring up the remaining, significant elements of the event or the details that are missing. You can anchor those suggestions to a particular action.
For example: “As I drink this glass of water my subconscious will start bringing up my memory in my sleep. In my dream, my subconscious will work, and tomorrow morning as I wake up, the information I need will be there.”
10. Ask yourself if you have any inhibiting thoughts or ideas.
For example: “I don’t think I’m going to remember, but I can give it a try.” It is an attempt at self-sabotage. Your subconscious receives the suggestion to “try,” which (translated to the language of the nervous system) means to FAIL.
11. Connect the retrieving of the memory to a positive feeling.
For example: “When it comes to my mind I will feel relieved about it.” Good feelings boost subconscious response.
12. Imagine that it has already happened, that you already remember. Recall a situation when you easily recalled something. Recall how good it felt and how quickly, almost automatically it happened.
How should you treat your memories?
Memories should be memories and not current experiences.
If they still affect us in negatively, we need to remove the emotional charge from them. (If you want to know more about how to remove the negative emotional charge from subconscious memories subscribe to my Self-hypnosis newsletter here, check PTSD in the interest group, and I will send you precious information about how you can become free of flashbacks, panic attacks, OCB or PTSD.)