Nostalgia, a sweet treat we can give ourselves

MH910217038“Remember when . . . ”

Nostalgia may be as old as mankind, is common worldwide, and is shared by children as young as 7. A recent New York times article notes, “Most people report experiencing nostalgia at least once a week, and nearly half experience it three or four times a week. These reported bouts are often touched off by negative events and feelings of loneliness, but people say the “nostalgizing” — researchers distinguish it from reminiscing — helps them feel better.”

The article shares the work of Dr. Constantine Sedikides of the University of Southampton, and goes on to say . . .

Nostalgic stories aren’t simple exercises in cheeriness, though. The memories aren’t all happy, and even the joys are mixed with a wistful sense of loss. But on the whole, the positive elements greatly outnumber the negative elements, as the Southampton researchers found by methodically analyzing stories collected in the laboratory as well as in a magazine named Nostalgia.

‘Nostalgic stories often start badly, with some kind of problem, but then they tend to end well, thanks to help from someone close to you,’ Dr. Sedikides says. ‘So you end up with a stronger feeling of belonging and affiliation, and you become more generous toward others.] . . .

Nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they’re sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer.

Research notes that cherishing special moments from your past can make you more hopeful about the future, and more comfortable or peaceful in the present. It can also reduce the effects of depression and loneliness.

Sounds like the “good old days” can help us create a richer present and brighter future. So brew-up some sweet memories two to three times a week this summer to begin building a reservoir of pleasant thoughts so when times get tough or a chill sets in, you can warm up your life and your heart by spending a few minutes remembering the good times.

And, don’t forget that today may someday be one of your “good old days”. Make it a great one!

To read the entire New York Time’s article, click here.

To learn more about Wishful Thinking Works life coaching

and custom workshops can brighten your future, click here.

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