You Are What You Think…Or You Think What You Are? Looking at Implicit vs Explicit Memory

Does it really matter what you do throughout the day concerning your mental health? Tony tackles the impact of implicit memory and how the “flow of experience gradually sculpts your brain, thus shaping your mind” from the book “Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom” by Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

Tony also references the article “Implicit Memory vs. Explicit Memory” by Kendra Cherry

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Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the “uh’s” and “um’s” that, in his words, “must be created by wizards and magic!” because it’s that good! To learn more about Descript, click here


VC Think 2022-07-28.mp3

[00:00:00] So recently I was poking around inside of my Audible audiobook library and I was looking for a particular book. And somewhere in there I saw the total number of books that I have purchased and I don’t know if it’s been for a lifetime, actually think that I switched my audible account several times early on when you would get two or three free books every time that you created a new audible account. But I’ve had one going strong, I think, since about 2010, and I know that that number was pushing about 400 books. And I also know that for a while I purchased my audiobooks through Apple iTunes, my iTunes account, and I’ve spent some time with different Audible competitors over the years. And I know I purchased and listened to books from them as well. And while one might look at that number of books and think to themselves, Man, you are well read, my friend. Well done. I did not. Instead I thought, okay, how many of those books were pure junk fiction, no judgment, just curious. And at any given time, I know that I have a fictional book going, or maybe even two, and usually some sort of autobiography. I’m fascinated by the way that people work and a couple of books on psychology, whether it’s my favorite acceptance and commitment therapy, maybe a couples therapy book, something on the brain.

[00:01:05] We’re going to talk about that today. But what I also found myself thinking was I kind of don’t remember much of any of these books out of the 400 when it ultimately comes down to it. And I find myself often if somebody says, have you seen this movie or you remember this book? And then they go into the details and I do the old what is wrong with me concept that I so preach against, but I’m just wanting to be authentic and honest here. So this brought up a lot of things that I think about and I wonder often is that if we go through all of these experiences in our lives, even just reading 400 or listening to 400 audio books, but then we don’t remember them then. Are they of worth or are they of value? So today we’re going to explore the concepts of memory. And before you get too far ahead of yourself, wondering where we’re headed, I absolutely believe and I think that I have discovered the research and the data to back up that research, that as each one of us are truly a neural mash up of all of our experiences, that can say without a doubt that all of our experiences go into making us who we are.

[00:02:07] So there is an enormous benefit to not only experiences that we have in life, but whether we are going to spend a few more hours scrolling through social media or whether we are going to be wondering or worrying or comparing or ruminating, versus do we watch something that we enjoy or do we read something, or do we simply go out and experience something even if that something isn’t something that we are too keen to experience? So coming up on today’s episode of The Virtual Couch, we’re going to explore how the experiences that we have make up our almost this life map, and they make up the internal landscape of our minds. And in essence, all of these experiences truly do determine what it is exactly like to be you. And we’re also going to do a deep dive on two types of memory, implicit and explicit, and how our memory plays into how we view ourselves, how we view the world, how we view others. And we’re going to cover these things and so much more coming up on today’s episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:03:17] Come on in and take a seat.

[00:03:23] Hey, everybody, welcome to the virtual couch. This is episode 331. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist, a certified mindful habit coach, speaker, writer, husband, father for ultramarathon runner. I wasn’t actually going down that path of the intro today. I was going to jump right in and say, host of the Waking Up the Narcissism podcast. And if you haven’t checked that one out, please do. I’m 30 something episodes in and that one has already hit some of the numbers or the reach that it took the virtual couch a couple of years to get to. And if the word narcissist is a very strong word or buzzword, then please go find it somewhere. Episode 910 1112 where I just have an episode that says, Am I the narcissist? And I really want you to know I’ve been very intentional in that podcast of talking about what true narcissistic personality disorder is because it’s a very small percentage of the population. But I’m really talking about the concept around emotional immaturity. And in essence, I believe that we are all, for the most part, emotionally immature until we become emotionally mature. And that is part of the process of growing and becoming and figuring out who you are and throw another person into the relationship. And that can be really difficult because sometimes when we are aware that our spouse or partner has completely different opinions, but we feel like I didn’t know this, then we somehow take that as an attack on who we are as a person.

[00:04:41] But in reality, if you are becoming emotionally mature, then you’re recognizing that there are two unique individuals that are showing up in a relationship, and that’s what makes the relationship even better. It’s not about control. I do love hammering this point of you can have love or you can have control and adult relationship, not both. And there are ways to get to that place of love. And a big part of that is being able to communicate effectively and not find yourself in this position of control. Check out that podcast and go find that one that says, Am I the I think that’s a good place to start. And I also have a podcast that I’m recording with my coauthor of my best selling book. He’s a porn addict. Now, what an expert in a former addict. Answer questions, which I play the role of the expert. I’ll tell the story more in detail down the road. But in March of 2020, we were set to start recording the audiobook version of that podcast, talking about audiobooks in the intro today. But a little something happened around March of 2020 and no one was allowed in a studio because the studio is a contained space and there could be germs and that sort of thing. And it’s interesting to look now of the all of the Zoom things, and I’m recording on a program called Riverside today or there are so many different recording platforms now that I don’t believe were as accepted at that point, especially if you’re talking about high quality audio for an audio book.

[00:05:52] So that whole project shut down and now Joshua Shay and I have a really interesting, unique, all I can call it is an enhanced podcast that has to do with that book. It’s coming out soon, but I am also honestly blown away by the response to my announcement last week of the upcoming Magnetic Marriage Podcast. So if you have ever wondered what a marriage therapist would think if they could follow you around for a few hours or a day or a weekend, or if you’ve never attended couples therapy, but you have been very curious to what that actually looks like, sounds like. And stepping into my healthy ego here a little bit, I’m at the 12, 1300 couples now that I’ve worked with. I love couples therapy. I talk so much about my four pillars of a connected conversation. If you had couples therapy, it hasn’t gone so well and you want to just have a different experience or hear what couples therapy is like from a different person or a couples coaching. Then I think you may want to be a part of my Magnetic Marriage podcast in some form or fashion. Yes, I go on often and talk about we don’t know what we don’t know in marriage and relationships and what does that really mean? What is that what is that conversation look like when I’m going on and on about being differentiated or how do we navigate the differences in our relationship? And you may have heard me talk over and over about my four pillars of a connected conversation because it is gold.

[00:07:07] It really is, I’m telling you. But what does that look like in real life? Or how would Tony help me express myself and get my spouse to truly stay in a productive, vulnerable conversation where I’m actually given the benefit of the doubt, assuming good intentions by pillar one, or where my spouse literally does turn off that fixing and judgment brain pillar two. You can’t put out that message if I don’t believe you or I think you’re wrong, even if you feel that way on the inside. And what would that look like to then have my spouse really lean in and ask questions before making comments to stay present and understand that tension really is where growth can occur in a marriage because of course you have different opinions, you’re two different people. So if you want to hear what that sounds like in real life, now is your chance. And if you are interested in becoming a couple that will go through being coached with me on the podcast, then I would love for you to reach out to me or to my assistant at Info at Tony over Macomb.

[00:08:01] You can put it in the title of podcast guest, but if you are not in a position where you or your spouse are interested in doing that again, it’s going to be completely anonymous. Then there will also be a way to, of course, subscribe and that information is going to. Soon. Again, I love couples therapy, I love couples coaching. So I cannot wait to let you hear what real conversations sound like. Real coaching, real couples, not scripted. Send me an email info at Tony Overbay dot com and let me know if you’re interested in you and your spouse being coached and if you just want to know when this thing’s going to come out, what’s the cost going to be? Then go to Tony Overbay dot com and sign up to receive my newsletter and you will find out when this podcast is going to be released, how much the cost is going to be. But I guarantee you it is going to be a fraction of the cost of one session with me. I hope you can feel the excitement. I cannot wait, so please send me an email or sign up to find out more. So today we are going to talk about a couple of books. One is the book, The Practical Neuroscience of Buddha’s Brain Happiness, Love and Wisdom, and that is by Rick Hanson, PhD, and Richard Mendham, who is a medical doctor.

[00:09:08] And we’re also going to spend some time in an article from very well mind called Implicit Memory versus Explicit Memory, which was written by Kendra Cherry and medically reviewed by Amy Moran, who I’ve talked about on a couple of different episodes. She’s a licensed clinical social worker. So let me start in the book, The Buddha’s Brain. I’m going to head over to Section two, and it’s simply titled Happiness. And now I believe that last week I also talked about negativity, bias in the brain. And we’ll touch on that a little bit more in a minute. So I just wanted you to know that I know that you know that I know that I talked about that a little bit last week. Let me read from chapter two, and I think you’ll see where I’m going if I go back to the way that I introduced the concept today of I often wonder about all of the experiences that we take in, whether it’s the audiobooks we read, the shows that we watch, what an impact or effect does that have on our brain and as well as on the makeup of who we are. And I really feel like this chapter of the book, Buddha’s Brain just expresses it so well. So he says, this is Chapter four Taking in the Good. He starts with a quote by Walt Whitman from Song of the Open Road.

[00:10:13] I am larger, better than I thought. I did not know. I held so much goodness. Rick Hanson says As much as your body is built from the foods that you eat, your mind is built from the experiences you have. The flow of experience gradually sculpts your brain, thus shaping your mind, he said. Some of the results can be explicitly recalled, like, This is what I did last summer, or that is how I felt when I was in love. But most of the shaping of your mind remains forever unconscious. And this is called implicit memory. And it includes your expectations, the models of your relationships, your emotional tendencies, and your general overall outlook. So implicit memory establishes the interior landscape of your mind, what it feels like to be you based on the slowly accumulating residue of lived experience. And he says that in a sense, then those residues can be sorted into two piles those that benefit you and others and those that cause harm. He goes on to say that you should create, preserve and increase beneficial implicit memories and then prevent, eliminate or decrease the harmful memories. And I know that that can sound overly simplistic, but I was hooked when I read that part of this book, because if I go back to what makes up who I am, that he talks about the flow of experiences, gradually sculpt your brain, thus shaping your mind.

[00:11:31] And there is a quote that I stumbled upon a long time ago, and this is by a gentleman named Neal Maxwell. And I will tell you, I love taking ownership of this quote, because this was a long time ago. I’m reading this book. It was called The Promise of Discipleship. It had to do with my something I was doing teaching in my religious community. And I was so proud of finding my own quote that no one had said, Here’s one of my favorite quotes. I felt like I found my quotes in it. And I’ve had this in my mind for years, decades, probably. But he said, though of themselves, life’s defining moments may seem minor. Our wise responses can gradually increase our traction on the demanding path of discipleship. So he’s talking about discipleship in a religious context here. But I feel like you can substitute in there the demanding path of life or of happiness or of parenting or of work, whatever that would be. So he says, for instance, we can decide daily or in an instant in seemingly little things, whether we respond with a smile instead of a scowl, or whether we give warm praise instead of exhibiting icy indifference. He says each response matters in its small moment. After all, moments are the molecules that make up eternity affecting not only ourselves but others, because our conduct and even seemingly small things can be contagious.

[00:12:44] And what I remember about this quote was I went through this period where I thought this was the greatest quote known to mankind, especially that part of in any moment and seemingly little things we can respond with a smile instead of a scowl. We can give warm praise instead of exhibiting icy indifference. And so I walked around the halls of my church. I walked around I was in the computer industry at that time. I was doing a lot of traveling. I was doing a lot of speaking. I was doing a lot of sales pitches. And I remember in those moments just feeling like I just want to smile at everybody. I want to say hi to everybody. I want to get to know everybody. I’ve. Often about going to various we travel the world doing trade shows and I spoke to just a lot of audiences about some very nerdy computer things, very nerdy computer things. And I tried to make it fun. But in every one of those situations, I felt like this is where the makings of the therapist became that. A lot of it was because I really wanted that connection. I wanted people to know in that very moment that I would respond with a smile instead of a scowl, that I would say, Hey, how are you doing? Instead of just just walking by somebody? And I felt like that is one of those things that helped open people up.

[00:13:47] And I felt like I started to have these better connections with people. And then you become that person that people want to go to and dump all of their issues. Problems on that sounds like I’m saying it from a negative standpoint, but boy, that’s a whole other topic for another day. I feel like now I’ve got 15 to 20 years of experience of just loving, hearing people’s stories and knowing that everybody is trying their best and coming from a place of not knowing what they don’t know. And so then when somebody tells you some things that can sound pretty negative that I know that’s not about me, that that’s about the experience of this person’s going through. I do remember back in those days sitting there, hearing people tell their stories and sometimes feeling a great burden of just taking on everybody’s experiences. And so that’s where I talk about there’s a concept called trauma dumping that I’ve thought about doing an episode on a time or two, and that is when you are not a trained, licensed professional and you are the go to on your family or in your neighborhood or whatever that looks like. Are people just dumping all of their trauma or their experiences on you? They feel better then they walk away and then you’re left with all of those. And that can be really, really difficult thing. So I went from having an incredible relationship with this quote to then at one point I think when I was going and navigating my own journey of faith or sense of self, of feeling like, Well, this is pretty judgy.

[00:15:00] Do you mean that in every single thing I have to do just right, that I have to make sure that I smile instead of scowl, that I have to make sure that I’m doing things for others, almost like looking for that external validation. And then over time, then it came right back. The pendulum swung back to this place of, Oh no, it matters in those moments what I do for me, because that is creating. And that’s why I love going back to the Buddhist brain book that is that flow of experiences of a smile or how are you doing or showing up or taking action on things that you want to may not even want to do is a flow of experience that is sculpting my brain, the sculpting my mind. And so that is creating this interior landscape of my mind to help me understand and feel what it feels like to be me. And at some point, we want to get to this place where we enjoy being ourselves. I mean, that is that self love abundance. I referred often to the work of Ross Rosenberg, who I had as a guest over on the Waking Up the Narcissism podcast, and he talks about that we have this this self love deficit disorder, where too often we grow up with some pretty negative childhood experiences or good old abandonment and attachment wounds that I talk so often about, that we show up and we feel like we are only as good as the things we do for others.

[00:16:08] So then when we are not doing for others, or we aren’t getting that validation, even if we’re not aware that that’s why we’re doing it, then we can hit this concept called pathological loneliness, where that can be this deep, aching, lonely desire for connection. And if we don’t have a healthy way to find connection, then we compulsively care. Take others, or try to manage or control others in an effort to feel loved. But so the key, the cure to that is the self love abundance that he talks about and self love abundance. Is this showing up as I am me and I am only as good as the person that I am and I am a product of all of my experiences. And so I shouldn’t have to work so hard to be loved. I am lovable and that comes from the self love abundance. So I feel like that’s this concept of where when we’re starting to take in the good and we realize that all of our experiences will be for our good and all of our experiences are our experiences. And the more that we do then, the more we are laying out this interior landscape of our mind, what it feels like to be you.

[00:17:04] And then as you start to have these lived experiences and you start to do more of the things that matter to you, you will start to feel better about yourself and you will start to feel this concept of self love, and you will start to put yourself in this position where you are now interacting with others, not from a place of Do you like me, do you love me, but from a place of, Oh, I am lovable, I do love myself. And so as I’m expressing myself now, I just want to have a conversation. I want to have a connection with others. I’m not trying to control somebody. I’m trying to connect with somebody in the book, then recants. And he’s talking about that. Now, if you look at that, that we need to create, preserve and increase these beneficial implicit memories and do our best to prevent, eliminate or decrease harmful ones. And we’ll talk here in a minute about that. Doesn’t mean to stop thinking them because good luck. Don’t think about the polar bear eating a chocolate cake with green sprinkles right now. I mean, because that is what our brain does. If we say don’t think it, our brain will think it. But instead it’s starting to recognize these thoughts, recognize these feelings and emotions, and then embrace them.

[00:18:08] Thank your body for giving you these feelings. Stop trying to push those feelings away. That’s what drives us. The unhealthy coping mechanisms. So to feel that’s. Part of being human. And then as you start to feel and accept and love and take in and then do start to do the things that matter to you, live these experiences. Now you’re starting to create this internal neural network that will help you feel better about yourself so that you can show up in a greater capacity to just be you. And you are going to have a better chance of helping others coming from a place of just being okay, being okay with yourself, Wilkinson says, though, here we go. With that stuff we talked about last week or the week before, he said. But here’s the problem your brain preferentially scans for registers, stores, recalls and reacts to unpleasant experiences. And this one, I hope this one will sit with you for the next little while, he says. It’s like Velcro for negative experiences, talking about the brain and Teflon for positive experiences. So think about that. Does your brain hang on to these negative experiences? Like, I got to process these negative things and then if there’s a good experience, if somebody tells you nine good things about a presentation you gave but then gives you one negative comment or one bit of constructive criticism, there’s the Velcro, right? You have it.

[00:19:20] They said that I went too long, man. I should have known that. I should have timed this. I should have, I should have, I should have. Nobody likes to me should on. But then did we hear all the parts about what you sounded really like you are knowledgeable and the things that you were communicating. And I could tell. And since the passion that you had and I feel like you had a real connection with the audience, but you just need to trim the time down a little bit. I’ve been that guy. I’ve been that guy that’s been so worried about ending on time, which I’m saying I appreciate. I don’t feel like anybody needs to sit there and hear me go on and on for hours and hours and hours. But I also do feel like if we are so worried about I don’t want somebody to tell me that, hey, you win a minute too late when there are all these other things that you may have done well. So the brain, this Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive experiences. So he says, consequently, even when positive experiences outnumber the negative ones, the pile of negative implicit memories naturally grows faster. So then that background feeling of what it feels like to be you can become undeservedly glum and pessimistic. So if we are continuing to internalize and focus on the negative because that’s what our brain does, bless its heart, then we’re going to start to make that our inner landscape.

[00:20:30] That’s going to be the view that we start to have. This is what it’s like to be me. I worry, I worry and I’m sad and I’m depressed. And so not saying that this is the magic, just be happy because I think this is what you can see is that by creating experiences and creating connections and doing things that matter to you is how we’re going to start to build that happiness so that we can then feel this more of the self love abundance so we can show up as imperfect but lovable beings. And that will engender. This is what Ross Rosenberg says that engenders mutually reciprocal relationships. We should not have to work so hard of being loved. We really shouldn’t. If somebody is telling you all the things that you should think you should feel and you should do, then bless their heart, they need control more than they need connection. They need control far more than they need love. And to them, why? I want to go to this. I bid them. I bid them. Good day. That’s all I can say. If somebody tells me why, I wouldn’t say that. Or you know what you need to do. No, I’m good. Now, from a purely differentiated standpoint, I would love if I respect this person or even if I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt.

[00:21:35] I’d love to hear their opinion or their thought, but that’s what it is. It’s their opinion, it’s their thought. And if they’re offering advice, first of all, that I ask for the advice, probably not. If it’s unsolicited advice, then we’ll hear them for a moment. But how about we just have a connection? How about we have some curiosity between the two of us? How about we really look at what makes each other tick? Not, Hey, let me tell you what you need to do, even though I don’t know enough about your experience because that will make me feel better about myself. That is not a recipe for a connection. So talking about negative experiences, Rick Hanson says, sure, negative experiences do have benefits. Loss opens the heart, remorse provides a moral compass, anxiety alerts you to threats, and anger spotlights wrongs that should have been righted. But do you really think that you are not having enough negative experiences? He says emotional pain with no benefit to yourself or others is pointless. Suffering and pain today breeds more pain tomorrow. He quotes a study from 2007 by Athletic and others, and he says that. So, for instance, in a single episode of major depression that can reshape circuits of the brain to make future episodes more likely. So the remedy is not to suppress negative experiences when they happen because they happen. Rather, it is to foster the positive experiences and in particular to take them in so they become a permanent part of you.

[00:22:50] They start to make up this internal landscape. So he talks about three ways to do that. Number one, turn positive facts into positive experiences. He said Good things are happening all around us, but much of the time we do not notice them. Even when we do, we hardly often feel them. It goes back to that concept of good things. We just let them just roll off like Teflon. So if somebody is nice to you or you see an admirable quality in yourself, or you talks about if a flower is blooming or you finish a difficult project. It all just rolls by. Then we need to be more aware. We need to be more positive. We need to be more present. And in the moment, he said, instead, actively look for good news, particularly the little stuff of daily life, the faces of children, the smell of an orange, a memory from a happy vacation, a minor success at work and so on. Whatever positive facts you find, bringing a mindful awareness to them open up to them and let them affect you. He said, It’s like sitting down to a banquet. Don’t just look, dig in. And sometimes I find that people say, Well, those thoughts are why? Why do I want to spend any thoughts there where I need to figure things out? And I think that is so much of what our brain is tricking us into doing, for the most part, is, again, it goes back to that.

[00:23:55] If I can figure this out, whatever this is, if I can figure out this complicated solution of emotions that some one of my children are having, if I can figure it out, then I can express this this to them, and then they will go on and do all the things that I would like for them to do to make me feel less uncomfortable. When in reality, we need to be our best selves to show up, to foster this secure attachment or connection to those that we care about, so that they will know that they can turn to us and that we will be there for them so they can go out and explore the world and come back and know that we’re not going to tell them, I can’t believe you did that, or That’s ridiculous, or you know how that made me feel. Instead, we can come back and say, What was that like for you? And tell me more about that, and what do you want to do about that and what do you want to do moving forward? I’m here. I’m your person. We want people to feel safe with us. We want people to feel like they can turn to us and that we can have a connected conversation. So again, he’s talking about these negative experiences.

[00:24:46] Then he talks about, here’s some of the things that you can do to internalize the positive. So we’re turning positive facts into positive experiences. We’re going to sit with them more. We’re going to conjure them up where if we if you are I’ve got these candles in my office. Yesterday was fresh air and sea salt and I would go to the bathroom in between sessions, come back in to do push ups and to smell that smell. And I can tell you so many times yesterday I took a couple of seconds, extra seconds, and thought about the concepts of fresh air and sea salt. And I thought about the beach, one of my favorite places, one of my happy places. And it was just a brief moment where I just felt in the moment and positive, and that is starting to rewire these, these neural components in my brain to formulate my inner landscape, which is just an amazing thing. If you think about that. I am taking action and doing something that is helping me show up better and be a better person. The second thing that he talks about is in regard to internalizing the positive is savor experiences. He says savor the experience is delicious. Make an experience last by staying with it for five, ten or even 20 seconds. Don’t let your attention skitter off to something else. The longer that something is held in awareness and the more emotionally stimulating it is, the more neurons that fire and thus wire together.

[00:25:57] And I will say what I love about the book, The Buddha’s Brain, is it’s a book about neuroscience and it is an evidence based sighted resource. So in this concept, he says, again, the longer that something is held in awareness and the more emotionally stimulating it is, the more neurons that fire and thus wired together, and the stronger the trace memory. That’s from a study by Lewis in 2005. Rick Hansen says you need to focus on your emotions and body sensations, since these are the essence of implicit memory. Let the experiences fill your body and be as intense as possible. For example, if someone is good to you, let the feeling of being cared about bring warmth into your whole chest, feel it into your body, be grateful that this person is helping you, are taking care of you. And this is where I can’t believe years ago that I would be in this position where I just want to just thank someone. I thank my wife a couple of days ago for slicing up an avocado for me. And I meant every minute. I meant every ounce of that gratitude. I was so grateful that she was willing to take that time. And I can understand that at times somebody might say, Chill, bro, it’s an avocado. But in reality, that’s okay.

[00:27:00] In that moment I was just going to sit with that sensation a little bit more, and I was truly I was grateful for soft, squishy avocados. Not the hard ones and not the ones that are so squishy that they turn color on the inside. And I was grateful for my wife being willing to take that time to cut them for me. And I never thought I was going to be that guy that was going to sit there and just say, isn’t this an amazing moment as you get this avocado? Anyway, I think I’m going on too much about avocados. But he talks about focusing on your emotions and body sensations. Since these are the essence of implicit memory, let your experiences fill your body and be as intense as possible. Sit in a moment, feel the extreme love that you may have for one of your kids or one of one of my favorite shows. Although I don’t think that people just watch TV anymore, it seems like. But I can find clips of America’s Funniest Home Videos, man, be in the moment and laugh like crazy when you were seeing funny animal videos or you seeing people dancing and their pants always fall down, which I love that they can have complete montages of that, but whatever that looks like, then just be in that moment, enjoy, feel it, feel it in every sensation and feel it all throughout your body.

[00:28:05] Let the experience, feel your body and be as intense as possible. Pay particular attention, he says, to the rewarding aspects of the experience of any experience. For example, how good it feels to get a great big hug from some. That you love focusing on these rewards. He talks about increases dopamine release, which makes it easier to keep giving the experience your attention and it strengthens its neural associations in implicit memory. So we go back to that concept of implicit memory is building up your view of relationships, is building up your worldview. So as you build up these positive neural associations with implicit memory, you’re going to start to wire these concepts together that are, as I feel, a connection with others. Then it brings me great joy in the world. There’s a concept I’ve done an episode or two on. It’s called RFT Relational Frame Theory, where we start to put things in a frame together. So if you are putting a positive experience together with being present or you’re putting a positive experience together with cutting an avocado, I guarantee you every time now I cut an avocado, I’m going to just feel I’m going to feel it in a good way. I really am. Now, if I grew up in a place where avocados were literally thrown across the room, if they were too hard, and somebody who said, you know how I like my avocados then? And I mean, I know I took that to 180 degrees, but I literally had experiences where people talked about growing up in a home where they just felt like they could never do anything right.

[00:29:23] Then you can see that that implicit memory is going to build up these neural connections of negativity around all kinds of experiences. So that may be the way that you are showing up in your relationship now, bringing all of that internal baggage into the relationship. And so it is up to you to start recreating this internal landscape in one of the first places you do that is by being more present or doing things that matter to you or being more grateful. And I’m not saying you have to be grateful for the person that is abusing you. Absolutely not. Now we’re starting to sniff around the concepts of Stockholm Syndrome or things like that, but just know that you are implicitly OC as you rebuild that implicit memory, your neural associations that it is important for you to think about things that you care about, to to sing songs in your head that you enjoy, to think about dream, daydream, for Pete’s sake. If you look at it from the standpoint the concept of daydreaming is going to do you far, much, far more good, is that the right phrase? It’s going to do good, real good things. I don’t know. I’m going to leave this in there as well for the sake of time and editing.

[00:30:27] But it will do you good to think and daydream and sing and believe than it will be to ruminate and fixate and think of what is wrong with you. Because nothing is. You are the only version of you that’s ever walked the face of the earth. So the more that you can start to understand the things that you think, feel the things you want to do and become, and b are okay because they are. Then the first steps you can do is start building this intrinsic or you can start building this implicit memory. So you’re not doing this to clean to the rewards which would eventually make you suffer, excuse me, but rather to internalize them so that you can carry them inside you and you don’t need to reach for them in an outer. Rick also says you can also intensify an experience by deliberately enriching it. For example, if you are savoring a relationship experience, you could call up other feelings of being loved by others, which will help stimulate oxytocin, the bonding hormone, the cuddle hormone, and thus deepen your sense of connection. Or you could strengthen your feelings of satisfaction after completing a demanding project by thinking about some of the challenges that you had to overcome. I love that example because I feel like that’s one where you can just sit with it when you’ve completed a task, tell yourself, Job well done.

[00:31:33] Don’t look at that and say, Well, yeah, but I should have done better. I should have started it sooner because that’s what our brain thinks. It’s doing us a solid or a favor by going back and recalling all the negative experiences. But in reality it’s not. How about we spend some time savoring the success or the good vibes or the good things that happened during the project. Last thing he said is imagine or feel that the experience is entering deeply into your mind and body, like the sun’s warmth into a T-shirt, water into a sponge or a jewel placed in a treasure chest in your heart. Keep relaxing your body and absorbing the emotions, the sensations and the thoughts of an experience he talks about. And we’re going to move over into this article. But he talks about healing, pain. Positive experiences can also be used to soothe balance and even replace the negative ones. When two things are held in mind at the same time, they start to connect with each other. And that’s one reason why talking about hard things with somebody who’s supportive can be so healing. Painful feelings and memories get infused with the comfort, encouragement and closeness you experience with the other person. I love this paragraph and it makes me think often about the job of being a therapist that if I can provide a safe place for someone to process intense or negative emotions, then they can start to.

[00:32:38] Your brain is starting to wire with this. It’s okay for me to express myself and it’s okay for me to talk about difficult things because it feels safe. And you don’t just have to be a therapist to provide that safe place for somebody to be able to express themselves. As a matter of fact, I think that is one of the essences of being human and being able to be there for someone else. I talked earlier, though, about if that is too much, if there’s this concept of trauma dumping or if you find yourself a highly sensitive person, then that is not your your cross to bear. And if that’s the case, that’s okay as well. And I hope that you’ll be able to express that to somebody that I want to be there for you. But I can’t necessarily be there in a way where I may need to hear some really intense things that you’ve been through, and that is absolutely okay. So I’m going to try to go very quickly through implicit memory versus explicit memory. Again, this is off of very well Mind by Kendra Cherry because she talks about how implicit memory and explicit memory are both types of long term memory, so that the information that you remember unconsciously and effortlessly, effortlessly, is known as this implicit memory. And the information that you have to consciously work to remember is known as explicit memory.

[00:33:43] And the reason I think these things are significant to just bring awareness to is I know that I am not as strong in my explicit memory that I don’t remember movie quotes very often. I’m not good with remembering numbers, those sort of things. I’m not saying this in a woe is me, but more from an acceptance standpoint. And then there are a lot of different reasons. There’s different ways that the brain works and that I do feel like I love this concept because I feel like as a therapist I will learn a new, new concept. And then I feel like it just starts to, I say often out loud to my clients, it’s I’ve got some things that are a little bit fuzzy right now, and they’re going to start to come into more clarity. And then I feel like they are going to now make more sense in bringing these concepts into my practice in general. The latest is this concept called confabulation, which is a huge word in the world of narcissism or extreme emotional immaturity, where confabulation is that we all have these gaps in our memory and we typically fill them with some pedestrian details or minutia. If our memory cannot, our brains can’t work in fragments of memory, so it’ll plug in the gaps. And so we may have the conversation where we say, well, I remember having I remember having the argument and we were in our cabin or we were on vacation at the beach.

[00:34:51] And your spouse may say, I don’t think so. I think I remember having it outside. We were in the forest. And so the point isn’t to figure out if you were at the beach or the forest, because your memories are not perfect, they’re fragmented. The concept of confabulation is then instead of going, instead of us saying, Oh, my bad, yeah, maybe, maybe you’re right, maybe I am, that’s irrelevant. But in emotional immaturity or narcissistic confabulation, the emotionally immature narcissist plugs in those gaps of memory with. And I was right and you were wrong. Or I remember all of these incredibly minute details that let me know that I know what I’m talking about better than you do. Now, the person might not be able to remember what happened yesterday, but they can recall ten years ago when they were the hero of the story and you were the goat. So that’s where the concepts of narcissistic confabulation come in. And as I’ve been expressing this concept of confabulation, then I feel like now I understand or see that we all can relate to a point in different things. So I do feel like as we take in these different things, that that becomes part of my that becomes part of my implicit memory and that starts to create more of the foundation of the way that I show up in my practice or the way I show up in my life.

[00:36:02] Understanding stages of faith. Understanding four pillars of a connected conversation. Building this framework of the nurtured heart parenting approach and not letting people not letting our kids push our buttons and being able to build inner wealth and then assuming good intentions. When even my own kids are saying things that they’re trying to push my buttons, I start to feel like all of these things become part of my implicit memory and become part of my rich inner world and help me show up more authentically in situations. Now, when somebody says, Do you remember we just went and saw a movie, The Crow? I think I’m going to say this completely wrong. Crawdads and singing. I don’t think the Crawdads actually sung, but I remember reading the book and completely forgetting everything about the book and then being there in the movie. And then when the end happened. And I will not spoil the end because it was pretty wild then remembering, Oh, I remember the book now, even though I didn’t remember much of the details as we were watching the movie. So implicit memory can be this this landscape or tapestry of how you show up or what it’s like to be you. And explicit memory can be the. Do you remember this book movie, or do you remember these specific details? Kindred says knowing how to ride a bike or read a book relies on implicit memory.

[00:37:09] Consciously recalling items on your to do list involves the use of explicit memory that even further validates the fact that my explicit memory is not my greatest trait because I have heard of these to do lists and I’ve tried to keep them for decades, and that is a real struggle. My wife has an amazing recall of her explicit memory and the things that need to be done so explicit and implicit memory, she says. Play important roles in shaping your ability to recall information and interact in your environment. So knowing some of the major differences between the two is important for understanding how memory works. Kindercare goes on to say that people often focus more on the topic of explicit memory, but she said that researchers are becoming more increasingly interested in how implicit memory works and how it influences knowledge and behavior. Because I feel like the people that will often get that validation are the people that have a very strong, explicit memory that they can remember facts and details and they can recall them. And I think that is amazing. People that have PI memorized out for, I don’t even know, hundreds of numbers or people that can recall certain dates in history years ago and remember the weather pattern. I was reading an article about that. So that implicit memory, again, that can be a whole completely different thing.

[00:38:19] Implicit memory is that makes you who you are. And then explicit memory is the ability to consciously work to remember things, facts, details, that sort of thing. So I’m going to hit really quickly. We’re going to do a quick deep dive from this article. I’m very well mind on implicit memory. Explicit memory. And then we’re going to we’re going to get you on your way. So she says that information that people don’t purposely try to remember that is stored in implicit memory, and it’s also sometimes referred to as unconscious memory or automatic memory. And so this kind of memory is both unconscious and unintentional. So implicit memory is also sometimes referred to as non declarative memory. Since you are not able to consciously bring it into awareness, it is just your state of being and doing. It is the way that you show up, the things that you recall from this deep inner sense of self. So she said, where explicit memories are conscious and can be verbally explained, implicit memories are usually non conscious and not verbally articulated. Implicit memories are often procedural and focused on the step by step processes that must be performed in order to complete a task. Procedural memories such as how to perform specific tasks like swinging a baseball bat or making toast, are just a type of implicit memory, since you don’t have to consciously recall how to perform these tasks. But while implicit memories are not consciously recalled, they still influence how you behave as well as your knowledge of different tasks.

[00:39:37] So you can start to see that if you grew up in maybe an emotionally deprived or emotionally abusive home, that that concepts of implicit memory can be a struggle or a challenge. Because if you continually felt like you weren’t sure how to show up because the way that you did things may be criticized, even like making toast, then you may enter your adult life or your relationships with more of this insecure, anxiously attached version of yourself where you may not truly have a strong opinion on how to make toast and your spouse may be saying there isn’t. Just make it, just make toast. But then if you are having a hard time showing up, that could be because of not having good experiences that have led to a chance. Challenging implicit memory of how to show up and doing some of these procedural things, she says. Examples of implicit memory include singing a familiar song, typing on your computer keyboard, brushing your teeth. Riding a bike is another example. Even after going years without riding a bike, most people are able to hop on one and ride it effortlessly. Other examples of implicit memory are knowing how to use a utensils and dress yourself each day, navigating a familiar area such as your house or your neighborhood, recalling how to boil water, fix dinner, or how to drive a car.

[00:40:48] Remembering the words so popular song after hearing the first few notes. So these are skills that you learn and then you don’t have to relearn again in order to perform them. And these memories are largely unconscious and occur automatically. So just as a recap, Kendra says the implicit memories are unconscious and they are automatic. This includes memories of how to perform tasks that you do every day. Rather than consciously recalling how to ride a bike, you’re able to perform it without thinking about it. So let’s hit explicit memory and then we’ll wrap up. So when you are trying to intentionally remember something like a formula for your statistics class or a friend’s mailing address, then this information is stored in explicit memory. So people use these memories every day for remembering information, for a test, or recalling the date and time of a doctor’s appointment. And I will tell you, I am confident. I have not had a good explicit memory going back to when I was reading this quote by Neal Maxwell talking about in my religious community, I taught an early morning Sunday school class for seniors in high school for years, and I to this day don’t remember the narratives, the stories, those sort of things that were being taught. But boy, I love being there and interacting with the 18, 17 and 18 year olds. And I used to feel like the What’s Wrong with me story because I couldn’t remember from explicit memory recalling the exact details of a particular scripture story, biblical story, that sort of thing.

[00:42:02] But I feel like I had the implicit memory down of what that experience taught. If it taught about love, if it taught about connect, it was teaching about not to judge whatever that vibe was. But then if it was the OC who said this and when did they say it, who did they say it? I got to tap out on that one because that is not a strong suit of mine. And if someone is saying, well, then you just need to try harder, bless your heart, truly bless your heart. And I hope that if that is your strength, then I am grateful that you have that strength and if you are aware of that explicit memory is also known as declarative memory, since you can consciously recall and explain the information. So she goes through just a couple of types of explicit memory, episodic memory. She says, these are your long term memories of specific events like what you did yesterday or your high school graduation. I know I spoke at mine. I don’t remember much other than that or semantic memory. These are memories of facts, concepts, names and other general knowledge. So examples of explicit memory. She said that some tasks that require the use of explicit memory include remembering what you learned in your psychology class, recalling your phone number, identifying who the current president is, writing a research paper, and remembering what time you’re meeting a friend to go to a movie.

[00:43:03] Other examples of things that are remembered through explicit memory include all the items on your shopping list. We’ll do a whole episode of math, birthdays of friends and family members. Important events from your life such as your wedding, a special trip or another notable milestone, or names and locations of different countries on a map. All of those things which I can say that I do struggle with so many examples of explicit memory involve textbook learning or experiential memories, and these are things that you consciously need to bring into your awareness. So some people are going to be stronger in those. So just as a recap, explicit memories are those that are conscious that recall and this includes, again, memories from events in your life as well as the memory of facts and other learned information, which is better if you have a stronger, implicit or explicit memory. I hope you could answer that one correctly. The answer is there is no better. It just is the way it is now. Can you and you do a better job or can you increase your explicit or implicit memory? Absolutely. One of the first things to do is just bring some awareness to it. That’s one of the things I love about doing the podcast is hopefully you’ll go forward and you will think a little bit more about these.

[00:44:03] This is something that maybe has informed my implicit memory or this is just the way I show up or what it’s like to be me. And so I can start to use some of those tools we talked about earlier in the podcast to help you start to remap or rewire your experiences to help create a better a better narrative or a better landscape of what it’s like to be you. And that is going to change that implicit memory. The explicit memory, yeah. If it’s something that I really care about or that matters to me, then I might need to be a little bit more intentional about the memorization of things to become part of my explicit memory. But regardless, it’s wherever you want to put your attention and effort is probably where you will put your attention and effort. And that’s a that’s a lot of acceptance around that. All right. So thank you, as per usual, for joining me today on this episode. And if you are interested in participating in that magnetic merge the podcast, then send me a message to info at Tony You can go to Tony dot com, sign up for the newsletter and we’ll let you know more about that as soon as I have that information. And taking us out, per usual, the wonderful, the talented Aurora Florence with her song. It’s wonderful. And I just hope that you have an amazing day and amazing week. See you next time on Virtual Couch.

[00:45:14] Compressed emotions flying past our heads and at the other end, the pressures of the daily grind. It’s wonderful. And that’s the question, Rob. A ghost isle floating past the midnight hour. They push aside the things that matter.

[00:45:34] Most to the world. Takes up all my time. It was.

[00:46:14] Setting news of discount price a million opportunities. The chance is yours to take or lose. It’s worth. Always on the back burner until the opportune time. You’re always pushed to go farther or shut up.

[00:46:44] It’s my fault. And so I’ll take all my time.

[00:47:14] Develop distance, don’t explore.

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