Positive, Present Tense, Repetition, High Emotion

When I was in grade school, I went to a memory improvement workshop. The leader taught us four important elements to improving memory skills. They are positive, present tense, repetition, and high emotion.
They are hard to write without yelling. The workshop presenter drove it home by having the entire auditorium yelling (high emotion) the four concepts over and over (repetition).  “POSITIVE, PRESENT TENSE, REPETITION, HIGH EMOTION!” brings me right back into that room. It’s been almost 30 years.


“Don’t think of a purple elephant,” the speaker challenged us. Of course, we couldn’t not. We think in the positive tense. This was an invaluable lesson, I still heed today. I learned to give my children directions in repetition keep calm coloring bookthe positive. Tell them what to do rather than what not to do. And I’ve taught them to ask for what they want instead of complaining-er, “am teaching” -we are still working on this! (But I am in good company with every other parent in the world.)

Present Tense:

We remember things in the present tense, that’s why we feel so attached to our past, we have to consciously remind our self it is past. Because it feels like it is right now. Know what I mean?


Repeating affirmations or rereading therapeutic documents that refer to your new story of skills, knowledges, identities, and/or values helps us step into them and helps us sustain them. (i.e. Write a goodbye letter to your problem. And read it over and over.)

See, the anxious voices in our heads repeat themselves over and over. So the way to counter this is with repetition also.

High emotion:

I don’t have to convince anyone of this. We’ve all remembered certain experiences more vividly when our emotions have been high, whether the event was positive, negative or in between. If there is high emotion involved, we remember, both fortunately and unfortunately sometimes. (i.e. I like remembering the birth of my children.)

When I help my kids study for tests, I repeat the material in high, excited emotion. This really works!

How Positive, Present Tense, Repetition and High Emotion Can Help You

So trying to undo some negative thinking? Are some judgments that are driving you nuts?

Counter these with positive, present tense, repetition, high emotion! Get excited about your affirmations. When they rock, you rock! Next week I will tell more about how to write affirmations and how they work.

Sending excited, happy love! Sending excited happy love! Sending excited happy love! Sending excited happy love!

30 years from now, it won’t matter what shoes you wore, how your hair looked or the jeans you bought. What will matter is what you learned and how you used it. ~Unknown

P.S. This is my 200 blog post! It has been a joy to write these all for you and I hope you continue to read and share if you are so inspired!

36 thoughts on “Positive, Present Tense, Repetition, High Emotion”

  1. Harleena Singh@Freelance Writer

    Hi Jodi,

    Congratulations on your 200 post – great achievement indeed πŸ™‚

    I loved what you shared, and yes, some teachers really do instill lessons that stay with us lifelong – don’t they? More so, if we can take in something from those lessons and pass it onto our kids – nothing can be better.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead πŸ™‚

  2. I like it when I read about something, a practice or any kind of advice and I realize I’ve been doing it all the time without noticing or learning it.
    When talking to others (trying to do it with myself), I try to always use positive sentences because the negative ones create guilt if/when they happen to do what I told them not to do.
    I often use the present when talking about the past, but it’s only when it’s a memory i want to keep really close to my mind and heart.
    I use the repetition every day and many times a day, but it’s not affirmations I am telling myself, but usually messages coming from others that help me feel good.
    Singing always brought strong emotions, so I used to “sing” my lessons whether it was history, geography or maths, anything became a song or a story, and this way I never forgot it.

  3. Congrats on the 200th post, Jodi! I would love to submit a piece but my writings tend to vary from the requirements.

  4. The positive tense thing is something I learned just in 2006 when I was preparing for major surgery. I used a book and CD by Peggy Huddleston called “Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster.” As part of it, I submitted a list of healing statements for my OR team to read out to me while I was knocked out. Huddleston cautioned against using the negative, e.g. instead of “I won’t feel any pain when I wake up,” saying “I will be comfortable when I wake up.” Let me tell you, it was an amazing surgery experience. I look at my belly button-to-pelvic bone scar with the memory of a smooth healing time. Ahhhh, the power of the positive.
    Laura Zera recently posted..You and Mental Health: Brain Food to Fend Off DepressionMy Profile

  5. Muchas Felicidades Jodi, for 200 posts…lots of heart and brain and experience to be able to do that.

  6. “I learned to give my children directions in the positive. Tell them what to do rather than what not to do.”

    That is one of the best parenting skills I’ve learned. It’s such a small thing, but I really try to do it. Even saying “Walking feet, please!” sounds and feels so much better than “No running!” And my kids listen better when I say it in the positive way.

    Happy 200th post! Very exciting! πŸ™‚
    JD @ Honest Mom recently posted..When your kid wants you to be more like the babysitter, it’s so awesome, you know?My Profile

  7. Sebastian Aiden Daniels

    Congratulations on the 200th post Jodi. I have never heard of this concept but it makes sense. We often remember the most emotional moments because they change our neural connections. I am now going to try memorizing something in a ridiculously high giggle fit of emotion. It will be delightful. I am smiling while writing this. Thank you for that.

  8. I’m happy for you on your 200th post. I did the positive thing with my kids too. Believe it or not, I never had to punish them. Never. Not once. Now that they are older teenagers, communication & trust are key in addition to saying things in a positive way. Nothing goes 100% as planned with older teens, but I am trying.

  9. Congrats, Jodi! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you through your words, which are a constant inspiration for me in my own quest to maintain my harmony. I’ve not heard anything quite like this before, but I can see the benefits. This is a great post, and one to bookmark. xox
    brenda recently posted..My Adventures in Speed DatingMy Profile

  10. First, congratulations on your 200th post, and looking forward to many more. Your first category “positive” is so on target. I’ve gotten into the habit of avoiding use of the word “not” as in do not. When we tell someone “do not do that” they don’t even hear the “not.” Our minds don’t register it. All we hear is “Do that.” Whatever it is. I so wish I’d learned this 40 years ago. My communication with others, as well as myself, would have been so much easier.

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      We all might do things different in retrospect, but the here and now is the most important! Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Such great advice Jodi – especially the bit about giving kids directions in the positive.
    200 posts? That’s quite a milestone – congrats!

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