Healing from Painful Memories Helps Anxiety

June 22, 2023 Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

Throughout the years, I've developed coping strategies that are helpful for my anxiety. But, I also realize that to effectively cope with the anxiety that might be triggered out of nowhere, I need to give myself a chance to heal from painful memories of the past.

Why It Is Important to Heal from Painful Memories

Anxiety, for me, feels like tension, intrusive thoughts, worries, shaking, a fast heart rate, and having a hard time sleeping, among other symptoms. When I started noticing that this was happening, whether related to a specific situation or something unidentifiable, I knew I needed to figure out ways to cope.

I also realized that successfully coping would involve identifying triggers, even if they were painful. While identifying triggers proved helpful, unfortunately, sometimes this would lead to avoiding those triggers instead of confronting and processing them.

Over the years, this has led to built-up anxiety. While I feel that I have successfully built up my resilience to stress through practicing self-care, and while I feel that I am well prepared to deal with stressful situations as they arise, I also know that it is still important to address my anxiety triggers, no matter how painful, and no matter how much I have avoided certain ones.

This includes memories that are painful. One of the characteristics of anxiety for me is reliving difficult memories of the past. While over-worrying is usually associated with anxiety, it is also often characterized by intrusive memories for me. This is one of the reasons it is so important to cope with and heal from painful memories.

How to Heal from Painful Memories

This is also one of the reasons mindfulness can be so helpful. Mindfulness refers to focusing on the moment without judgment. This strategy has been key for me in coping with and healing from painful memories. It has helped me to calm my physical symptoms of anxiety. But just because this is helpful, it does not mean I should avoid the memories, either.

Depending on the memory, it may be something that needs to be processed in order to heal. And if so, this may need to take place with someone who is trusted, through journaling, or perhaps with a professional. In any case, working through the memory can help to identify and express the emotions that stayed stuck in that moment which causes anxiety.

Lastly, practicing self-compassion is critical. Whatever the memory is, it is vital to refrain from being hard on yourself. Personally, it has been the lack of self-compassion that has led me to avoid certain memories in the first place. When we practice self-compassion, we acknowledge that we all, as human beings, go through different experiences in our lives and that it is human to feel pain, make mistakes, and experience a wide range of emotions that we may possibly experience.

In the video below, I share my thoughts on struggling with but confronting difficult memories.

How do you heal from painful memories that cause anxiety? Share your strategies in the comments below.

APA Reference
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2023, June 22). Healing from Painful Memories Helps Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 15 from

Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

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