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Nostalgia A Dead End Lane? #MondayMusings

I remember writing a post a few years back about ‘the old days‘ and one blogger very candidly disagreed saying that there . But I wasn’t living in the past, just hankering for some of the niceties of years gone by that I didn’t see evidence of. But that’s another story. Today I’m wondering is nostalgia a dead end lane or if there’s something good in it after all.

The last week has been filled with nostalgia as the NGO I work with and am one of the founder members of – Divya Disha – celebrated its 30th Anniversary. As we looked at old photographs and recalled the ‘old days’ we were filled with nothing but joy and gratitude for all we were and how far we’ve come. We recalled the many characters we encountered, all the laughter and all the learning. But I don’t think there was even a moment that we said “Wish we could go back in time”. If anything, we pledged to hold fast to the values of those days, even as we tread new paths.

It’s interesting that today I came across an article in The New York Times about whether nostalgia is good or bad and I’ll leave you to read this extract and come to your own conclusions.

[box type=”info”] Researchers say it’s a “phenomenon” — a high-order emotional experience more on par with love than, say, fear. It’s about yourself and those close to you; big moments in your life or memorable settings. Experts have found that people turn to nostalgia when they are trying to avoid something unpleasant or feeling lonely, to counteract their social anxieties.

And it works. Nostalgia helps bring your psychological state back into balance. It elevates your mood and your deflated self-esteem. Researchers say you come out of the experience with a stronger sense of belonging.

Say you’re moving to the other side of the country for a new job. That disruption can trigger a bout of nostalgia in which you recall childhood fishing trips with your dad. You think back fondly, and realize, “Hey, I still love to fish, and I still love my dad.” So you begin to feel like there’s some continuity between your past and present, like you’re living a full and meaningful life. And in that context, the cross-country move that’s been stressing you out may suddenly seem less daunting.

But nostalgia isn’t just a compensation tool; it’s also an energizing emotion, said Clay Routledge, a professor of psychology at North Dakota State University. After delving into nostalgia, you’ll feel more connected to your friends and also be motivated to actually reconnect with them; you might even go out and seek new ones.

In a Skype interview, Dr. Wildschut and Dr. Sedikides cautioned against using nostalgia as your primary way to cope with problems. Talking to a friend, for example, might be a better way. “If other things fail, nostalgia is a back up,” Dr. Sedikides said, “and it’s not as bad as people think.”

Extracted from Take a Walk Down Memory Lane. It Can Be Healthy from The New York Times

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What’s your take on the value of nostalgia?

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11 Comments

  1. vishalbheeroo vishalbheeroo June 2, 2017

    Nostalgia is something to be cherished and it empowers the self in chartering the memory, laughs and strength that defines us. I am always fond of the past that made me as a person. The extract is beautifully done.

  2. Lux Lux June 2, 2017

    Nostalgia is something I can’t place. I think it can be good and bad. The Christmas season always makes me nostalgic.

  3. Gilly Gilly May 31, 2017

    An interesting, thought provoking read Corinne. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing for me. I am spending a huge amount of time with my parents right now in the house where I grew up and that connection with the past is a comfort – sitting in the garden, my sister and I recall the days of our childhood when the old cinder path was the passage way to the dungeons in the ‘castle’ we invented. We sit in the sunshine contemplating the inevitable while getting joy from the happy times we have enjoyed there.

  4. Ramya Ramya May 31, 2017

    Rightly said. Nostalgia is good. I love the joy that i get by watching my old photos. The feeling is wonderful and refreshing.

  5. Lata Sunil Lata Sunil May 30, 2017

    Congrats on 30 years of Divya Disha. I had once argued that people always relate and identify with things they loved when they were growing up or in love. For instance, we still love and remember the songs we listened to in the 80s/90s but feel today’s music is useless. Similarly, I remember my parents dissing the music we listened to and insisting their music was the best. But we need to change and live in the present and look ahead.

  6. Modern Gypsy Modern Gypsy May 29, 2017

    Congratulations on the 30th anniversary of Divya Disha! Nostalgia is a bit of both, I think – it can be a coping mechanism, but it can also simply be a walk down memory lane as you reflect on your journey. Anything when overdone is bad / nostalgia included.

  7. Natasha Natasha May 29, 2017

    Nostalgia is a precious gift as long as it is with fondness and love. Congratulations Corrine on your organisations landmark year.
    My post for #mondaymusings is also about a nostalgic trip peppered with joy and memories.

  8. Debbie D. Debbie D. May 29, 2017

    Congratulations on the 30th anniversary of your organization, Corinne. 🙂 Living in the past’ is a negative connotation with regrets attached and not at all the same thing as indulging in nostalgia. The New York Times article expressed it beautifully. It’s an uplifting mood enhancer. As we get older, the urge to reminisce becomes even stronger, it seems. Certainly true for me.

  9. Pratikshya​ Pratikshya​ May 29, 2017

    Nostalgia is a gift I believe.. to be able to recall the past, remember the moments.. when we look back we are able to connect the dots.. that life is.. it gives us a sense of validation that our times spent here was awesome…

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