There are days when you find yourself looking out the window and thinking of better times. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that people can no longer create new memories, they might find themselves scrolling through photos from months ago. Since people are stuck at home, all they can do is reminisce about the times when they can hug, shake hands, and leisurely go outdoors.
When times are hard, a pang of nostalgia may be the instant happiness boost that people search for. It’s the comforting fact that things can get better because they were better. Life has not always been like this—lonely, isolated, anxiety, etc. Sometimes, that’s all that people need to get through another day. This reassurance and reminder that this, too, shall pass.
What is Nostalgia?
Nostalgia is such a profound feeling that it can be difficult to fully capture. It makes people feel warm, like discovering the right music for the right emotion and the right moment. People smile out-of-nowhere, in the most unexpected times, when they recall a fond memory. Others may feel the same thing they felt at the moment of the memory or even feel a physical touch from a person.
The feelings evoked by reminiscing is called nostalgia. It can be happy, sad, or bittersweet—like when one learned how to ride a bike for the first time or the feeling of leaving one’s hometown behind.
Anyone can experience nostalgia, but it’s more likely to happen to people undergoing transitions. It could be a teen going through teenage rebellion, edginess, or other adolescent things. Those in their 20s could be nostalgic about simpler times when they didn’t have bills, 9-5 jobs, etc. Older adults in retirement homes can dig into their memories due to loneliness or missing their loved ones who can’t visit them amid the pandemic.
What Good is Nostalgia?
People are always told to move on, let go, and not dwell on the past. However, there’s a healthy amount to it, and this kind of nostalgia brings mental health benefits. Nostalgia helps people feel things again. It reminds them of where they came from. Consequently, looking back in the past reduces stress and helps fight depression and anxiety.
Nostalgia in Older Adults
The feelings of sentimentality and nostalgia are more prevalent in older adults because of the loss of social support. At this point in a person’s life, people can lose their friends and family due to retirement, death, and impaired mobility.
Additionally, social isolation in older adults can leave them to bask in their memories. They get emotional stimulation from their memories. As a result, looking back into the past lessens the effects of loneliness, as nostalgia can make the person believe they have social support.
Studies have shown that nostalgia is beneficial for self-continuity. When people dig into their memories, they can reflect on what happened in the past and relate them to the present. Through this, they can remind themselves of where they came from and how their present selves have become a reality because of these memories.
Combat Depression and Anxiety
In older times, experts connected nostalgia with depression. When the person feels melancholy for past events, depression is their diagnosis, as nostalgia has not been explored yet. Today, as more research has been conducted on the topic, experts found that nostalgia combats depression and anxiety. Remembering happy memories decreases cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress.
#ThrowbackThursday. #FlashbackFriday. The trendiness of the 70s, 80s, and 90s event themes. The high-waisted mom jeans and primary-colored outfits. The vintage color compositions of movies and music videos. The fascination for film photography.
All these are things of the past, but somehow, they are back in style. High-definition photos and videos are edited to mimic the grainy and faded quality of old cameras. Influencers and celebrities dress as if they dug into their parents’ and grandparents’ wardrobes.
Because of this, younger generations have been called the “Nostalgia Generation.” The reasons behind their nostalgia may be rooted in the idea that it’s been a rough ride. They have gone through attacks, hurricanes, economic crises, and a pandemic. Aside from this, they deal with skyrocketing rent prices and tuition fees. It’s like they’re forced to witness too much too soon and to grow up quickly.
In nostalgia, there’s a sense of optimism—that there are better times than what’s going on at the moment. In a way, these memories are an anchor so that people don’t lose their sanity amid the hardships they’re experiencing. When you find yourself drifting into memory, and you like it, take a deep breath, bask in the happiness, and cherish every second.
Meta title:Nostalgia Can Get You Through the Day
Meta description: Reminiscing may not be all that bad because the memories, especially the good ones, help people be happy, anchor them in the present, and decrease their feelings of loneliness.