Q. I’ve heard the term cellular memory. What is that?

A. Cellular memory refers to a type of memory that is housed within the cells of your body. Many people think about memory as a specific, cognitive recollection of facts or about an event. They know what they ate for breakfast, recall names of friends, and know where they expect to vacation next summer.

Cellular memory is not conscious and cognitive. Rather is shows itself as a push toward behavior. It may form part of the foundation for the old lament, “I don’t do what I want to do, and what I don’t want to do, I do.” This is one of my favorite brain-related topics.

The implications of cellular memory to our lives are virtually unlimited. It likely impacts us in ways we never dreamed possible or never before understood. The emerging research can stimulate us to review our own lives, at least hypothesize regarding possible implications, and make more informed choices in the future. Here are a couple examples:

  • Cellular memory from previous relationships may impact current relationships, especially if sexual activity was involved. How does unfinished business or unhealed woundedness impact cellular memory, especially as it relates to generational issues?
  • Cellular memory may help to explain why individuals tend to alter their behavior when they re-enter the family system at holiday seasons. Is cellular memory so strong that it triggers us to repeat behaviors that we learned in family-associated environments?