Two tools that Actors can use to help them better play their roles are emotional and sense memory. Emotional memory deals with the problem of finding a substitution in order to release emotions. Sense memory is the recall of physical sensations.
Emotional memory is where you use an object or a picture and think about how you felt when you saw it, and that brings about emotions of sadness, anger, happiness or anything. Like instead of thinking of something sad to make yourself cry, you could think of a present that your ex-boyfriend that you really liked gave you, and then remember how you felt when he broke up with you, and you will be sad. You must have some distance from the experience though, or else you might break down, and then you wont be able to act at all.
Sense memory is where you remember a physical sensation, like pain, or cold or heat, or being tickled, or remembering what it's like to have just woken up. If you are to play that you're cold, think of a time when you were really cold, and think of where you were cold, and how unpleasant it was, and you will begin to be cold. If you are playing like you just woke up, you don't spring right out of bed, because no one wakes up happy. You would peel your eyes open, grunt a little bit, be stiff, heavy, slow, and a little confused. Sense memory helps portray the part without an excess of words.
I think that Emotional memory is more effective, because it works for me, but sense memory doesn't really work for me. I've tried and tried to lower my body temperature, but I cannot do it. Perhaps I'll need to try harder. They are both brilliant ideas though, and useful tools if you can figure out how to use them.