Did you know that being nostalgic can make you a happier person? Well studies show it can! Recalling happy memories from the past can literally make you happier.
At the end of an incredibly busy day when I was feeling a bit stressed out and slightly grumpy, I sat down to finish one last to-do item before I could write tonight’s blog. I had been asked to write a letter sharing some of my favorite memories I’ve had with a particular friend of mine. As I sat and began writing the letter I found I couldn’t stop smiling as I was recalling some of the fun times we have had together. And as I thought about specific memories I found myself laughing out loud just thinking about them again. By the time I finished the letter my mood was totally different – I felt calm and even happy.
Going through that exercise made me realize that being nostalgic about happy times can totally change our mood and help us feel happy. So I did a little research and discovered that scientists have even proven that to be true.
A study conducted at the University of Southampton England stated that nostalgia is “a source of great strength, enabling the individual to face the future.”
Not only does it increase overall happiness, they found that nostalgia raises optimism, evokes inspiration, boost creativity, builds compassion and empathy, and increases self-esteem. The study states that: “…nostalgia is now emerging as a fundamental human strength. It is part of the fabric of everyday life and serves at least four key psychological functions: It generates positive affect, elevates self-esteem, fosters social connectedness, and alleviates existential threat. By so doing, nostalgia can help one navigate successfully the vicissitudes of daily life. More generally, nostalgia is uniquely positioned to offer integrative insights across such areas of psychology as memory, emotion, the self, and relationships. Nostalgia has a long past and an exciting future.”
The more we can recall happy times the more we can wipe out negative memories from our brain, the faster we can feel happy, and what’s great is that the more we remember the good things in our past the more we automatically work toward creating more of those good memories for our future.
Take a minute to stop and be nostalgic about some of your favorite memories from the past. Grab an old photo album, or look back to past happy postings on your social media sites, or sit and think about some happy times with a friend…I guarantee you won’t be able to keep from smiling when you do.
Have a great day and don’t forget to take time to be a little nostalgic!
~Amy Rees Anderson