How nostalgia can be good for your health and well-being

We all know people who love to reminisce about memories from the past. Sometimes it’s charming, but if it’s done too often, you might feel tempted to shake your relative or friend and say, “Snap out of it! Come back to the here and now.” Well, you may want to think twice about doing that because research has found that nostalgia can be good for your health and emotional well-being.

Whether you listen to music you used to love, look at old photos, page through yearbooks or watch movies that take you back to happy times, you can evoke nostalgia to benefit your state of mind in myriad ways. Strolling down a pleasant memory lane can improve your mood and stimulate inspiration and motivation, research has found. Nostalgia can provide you with a window into your authentic self, according to a series of studies published in a 2015 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and it can give you a greater sense of meaning in your life.

[Read: What Your Relationship With Music Says About You.]

What’s more, “people who are high in nostalgia cope in healthier ways with difficult situations – by expressing their emotions, connecting with other people and being more willing to ask for advice or practical help,” explains Krystine Batcho, a professor of psychology at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, who has been studying nostalgia since 1995. “With nostalgia, stress can be met with a unified sense of who you are.”

Health Benefits of Nostalgia:

  • Boosts mood
  • Triggers inspiration and motivation
  • Provides glimpse of your authentic self
  • Can help with problem-solving
  • Helps you handle tough situations in healthier ways
  • Can give a greater sense of meaning in your life
  • Improves relationships

Harnessing Powerful Psychological Resources

Because nostalgic recollections connect your past to your present self, these reminiscences can help you develop, maintain or restore a sense of personal identity by weaving together the threads of your life’s story. This may be one reason why research in a 2018 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that nostalgia helps enhance psychological resources – including social connectedness, meaning in life, self-continuity, optimism, self-esteem and positive mood – among people who have dementia. The belief is that engaging in nostalgia can help protect people’s sense of self from anxiety related to death, aging and other potential threats.

“Nostalgia builds up psychological resilience: Compared to an ordinary memory, nostalgia is like putting on an extra layer of clothing before you go out into a winter’s night; the coat buffers you against the threat of the cold air,” explains study co-author Richard Cheston, a clinical psychologist and professor of dementia research at the University of the West of England. “Nostalgic memories are very different from other sorts of memory – they have a particular emotional quality, and concern memories that are central to how people see themselves.”

[Read: Are You Too Emotional?]

Interestingly, these emotionally charged memories can confer health-related benefits, as well. A study published in a 2016 issue of the journal Psychology & Health found that people who were instructed to write about a nostalgic event subsequently scored higher on measures of health optimism and health attitudes than those who wrote about ordinary events. The nostalgic group also increased their physical activity over the next two weeks, according to their Fitbit activity trackers.

You can even use the power of nostalgia to benefit your relationships. A pair of studies in the October issue of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy found that remembering the good times in a romantic relationship provides a temporary boost to your satisfaction with the relationship. “Nostalgia provides a way to mentally re-experience positive memories throughout a relationship: Positive feelings and fondness often accompany these memories, (which) can help promote satisfaction with the relationship,” explains study co-author Allen Mallory, a doctoral student in human development and family sciences at the University of Texas—Austin. But dwelling excessively on happy memories from the past can backfire in the long run, he adds, perhaps by calling attention to what’s missing from the current state of the relationship.

[See: How Your Personality Affects Your Health.]

Looking Backward to Move Forward

Of course, it’s not a good idea to live completely in the past or to long excessively for days gone by. (You'll know you've reached the tipping point if you spend so much time reminiscing that it prevents you from actively living your life today.) “You don’t want to get stuck in nostalgia – you want to bring the best of the past forward, update it and use it in a helpful way,” Batcho says. "So make sure you psychologically schedule an endpoint (to your reminiscing)."

To keep nostalgia in the healthy zone, think about using lessons from the past to solve problems and enrich your life today.

If you're missing people from your past, reconnect with them on social media or meet them for coffee if they live nearby. If you’re struggling with stress or disappointment, for example, reminiscing about a time when you felt hopeful about a possible success can help boost your optimism, resolve and resilience, Batcho says. Similarly, sharing memories of a loved one who died, with other people, can help you process your grief and integrate it with appreciation for the role that person played in your life.

In other words, you might think of nostalgia as a way to take a brief journey in your mental time machine: By reflecting on the best of your past, you can gather inspiration and insights that can help you retain or create a better future for yourself.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

For a little more recent nostalgia, take a look back at celeb's best Instagram posts from 2018 in the slideshow below. 

Best celeb Instagrams of 2018
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Best celeb Instagrams of 2018
thank you @wttyler for putting this together. here’s a little glimpse of the last 9 months. the link is in my bio ♥️
I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈
Was gonna wait a while to say anything but word travels fast, listen plain and simple Hailey I am soooo in love with everything about you! So committed to spending my life getting to know every single part of you loving you patiently and kindLY. I promise to lead our family with honor and integrity letting Jesus through his Holy Spirit guide us in everything we do and every decision we make. My heart is COMPLETELY and FULLY YOURS and I will ALWAYS put you first! You are the love of my life Hailey Baldwin and I wouldn’t want to spend it with anybody else. You make me so much better and we compliment eachother so well!! Can’t wait for the best season of life yet!. It’s funny because now with you everything seems to make sense! The thing I am most excited for is that my little brother and sister get to see another healthy stable marriage and look for the same!!! Gods timing really is literally perfect, we got engaged on the seventh day of the seventh month, the number seven is the number of spiritual perfection, it’s true GOOGLE IT! Isn’t that nuts? By the way I didn’t plan that, anyways My goodness does feel good to have our future secured! WERE GONNA BE BETTER AT 70 BABY HERE WE GO! “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains FAVOR from the Lord!” This is the year of favor!!!!
Good veneers
December 2018 @instylemagazine
GUYS. 😩😩😩
We work and we play! Bowl-a-Rama party with the ladies of #BigLittleLies! 🎉 @nicolekidman #MerylStreep @shailenewoodley
Today I was arrested protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a man who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault. Men who hurt women can no longer be placed in positions of power. Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is a message to women in this country that they do not matter. I demand a government that acknowledges, respects and supports women as much as it does men.
Thank you @VictoriasSecret for sending us actual runway looks and real wings to borrow for the night!!! OMG a dream come true! Got to be a Victoria Secret Angel for the night! And Kendall got good practice lol
About to announce some exciting news on @jessicayellin insta page. Please follow her for up to the minute #newsnotnoise she breaks down what’s really going on. She agreed to post a lil noise today for me! Follow her and VOTE!!
That's a wrap! When I think about all the people who have come out to our events over these past few weeks, I think about a little working-class kid named Michelle LaVaughn Robinson—an ordinary girl who had some tales to tell, some failures and some successes, too. She had a lot to learn, a lot to experience, a lot to give—more than she ever could have imagined. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my story lately, and what I keep coming back to is that no matter where we came from, we all share so much. People of all backgrounds, skin colors, and political persuasions can relate to feeling uncertain or overwhelmed. We’ve all been a little frustrated by the slow, frustrating growth necessary to get where we want to go. We’ve all struggled with the balancing act that can take over days, years, or decades of our lives. And I want us all to remember that these are the moments and lessons that make us who we are -- every little twist and turn, every little bump and bruise, and ultimately every joys and every triumph, no matter how large or small. So I hope all of you believe in your story. I hope you recognize that what you see as a weakness might actually be a strength. I hope you recognize the power of your voice. And I hope you remind yourself that there isn't one right way to be an American. There isn’t one way to make your contribution in this country. So thank you all for your part of our story. Thank you for being who you are. And to everyone who’s read my memoir, or come to one of our events, or posted something online, thank you for being on this journey with me. Thank you for helping me continue to become. I hope my story can serve as a boost in your own process of becoming, too. I love you all. #IAmBecoming
Me when I saw my pictures from MET 🤷🏽‍♀️
Get ready. #MissionImpossible
heat wave

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