Looking back at good times and reliving them keeps your brain positive and can effectively treat anxiety or depression, finds a new study.
A team of researchers from University of Liverpool investigated individuals’ emotional reactions using a social technique called social broad-minded affective coping (BMAC) technique — an intervention that aims to elicit positive affect or emotion through the use of mental imagery of a positive memory.
“The findings suggest that the BMAC has the potential to be a practical and effective method for boosting mood among individuals with specific mental health problems such as anxiety or depression,” said lead researcher Peter Taylor from University of Liverpool in Britain.
The findings showed that following the social BMAC, the participants showed an increase in feelings of social safeness, warm positive affect and relaxed positive affect, while the negativity decreased.
The results, which provide preliminary support for the effectiveness of the social BMAC in activating specific types of emotion, have been detailed in the journal Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.
As part of the study 123 participants, recruited online, 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.
The participants were encouraged to engage all the senses, think about the meaning of the memory to them, savour the positive feelings they experienced, and consider the positive feelings in the mind of another before reflecting upon the feelings they experience as well as what this means to them.
Participants completed state measures of positive and negative affect and social safeness/pleasure before and after the intervention.