New research has found that it’s good for our health to look back at the past with rose-tinted glasses.
The research, published in the journal Memory by psychologist Timothy Ritchie and colleagues, found that we are far more likely to retain positive memories than negative ones.
However, even if a memory is negative we tend to put a positive spin on it – which is good for our long-term health and actually helps to boost our memory.
In the study, 562 participants from 10 cultures around the world were asked to recall life events. People from many different nations took part in the study.
The findings revealed that positive memories were remembered far more clearly than others.
Our brains try to forget negative events quickly, but have a habit of clinging onto positive ones.
The exact reason for this has yet to be found, although many think that it could be a method of self-preservation and benefit self-esteem.
The researchers described this process as ‘fading affect bias’ (FAB). This is the first study to demonstrate that FAB is a universal phenomenon across different cultures.
The researchers said that FAB ‘may foster recovery from negative life events and promote the retention of positive emotions.’
The team say that, although a good starting point, their study is not extensive, and FAB may occur for different reasons across the globe.