Moodscope's blog

1

June


The Patronus Charm – A Practical Guide. Wednesday June 1, 2016

High Summer. Hot sun on my back and the warm air full of childish shrieks and parents' chatter. We mill around in a kaleidoscope of bright colours then file out along the high rails. The taste of raspberry sorbet lingers on my tongue; the smell of sun cream battles with the enclosure's dust and dung.

Close up they are bigger. Far, far bigger. Every wrinkle in their skin is clear, I feel the breeze as they move the air with their ears. The scent of them, musk and wildness, overwhelms. My outstretched hand holds banana, skin and all, resting on my palm. A great grey anaconda gracefully unfurls, and two fingers grasp the fruit with delicate precision. A dribble of wetness, a tickle of whiskers; a snort. I feel and smell his breath as he furls up that trunk again and neatly pops the morsel into that cavernous mouth.

A moment only and the elephant moves to the next hand and the next treat.

That is an example of an anchor memory.

An anchor memory is a weapon you can use against negative thoughts that run like vampire squirrels on acid through your mind, driving you crazy with feelings of worthlessness, despair, guilt and shame. It is our version of Harry Potter's Patronus Charm.

In the Harry Potter books, the Patronus charm acts as a shield between you and the Dementors (forces of dark depression and despair). In real life it acts a little differently but to the same effect.

"Concentrate on a single very happy memory," says Professor Lupin, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. "Allow it to fill you up; lose yourself in it – then speak the incantation."

We don't need an incantation (although some therapists recommend that you come up with your own dismissal phrase for these unhelpful thoughts), but we do need to grasp our anchor memory - it helps to have lots to choose from - and allow it to fill us up utterly, so negative recollections and feelings are swamped by it and forced (at least temporarily) out.

Go back to my memory of feeding the elephant for a moment. Can you see how every sense is involved? That's the trick. You need to have scent, taste, sound and sensation involved in this memory: it needs to be all encompassing, so it surrounds you totally and you are protected on all sides. More than this, it should be a magical moment; a moment that glitters and sparkles for you.

When we mine our past for happy memories, we tend to think of significant occasions: the birth of our children, a family celebration. But actually, memories that are most useful here are those perfect moments when we lost ourselves utterly.

So go back, find some memories and immerse all your senses in them. I promise you that even the darkest life contains enough magic for this. Then practise. Like every spell, this takes practise.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


Permalink  |  Blog Home

Comments

Comments are viewable only by members. Register Now to participate in the discussion.

Already have an account? Login to leave a comment.

There are 27 comments so far.

What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive

Disclaimer

Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

We exist to help people to positively manage their moods. You can contribute by taking the test, sharing your experience on the blog or contributing funds so we can keep it free for all who need it.

Moodscope® is © Moodscope Ltd 2018. Developed from scales which are © 1988 American Psychological Association. Cannot be reproduced without express written permission of APA.