Nostalgia and Psychological Health and Well-Being
When people engage in nostalgic reflection they are revisiting the experiences in life that they most cherish. Nostalgic memories are meaningful memories.
Our lab has discovered that nostalgia serves important psychological functions. Nostalgia helps people regulate distress. Negative states such as sadness, loneliness, and meaninglessness trigger nostalgia. Further, engaging in nostalgia counters these negative states.
Nostalgia increases positive mood, self-esteem, feelings of social connectedness, optimism about the future, and perceptions of meaning in life. Furthermore, nostalgia motivates people to focus on cultivating meaningful relationships and pursue important life goals. In addition, as people get older, nostalgia makes them feel youthful and energetic. Nostalgia also reduces existential fears about death.
Images courtesy of J Routledge