Bust Out Your Old Photos: Nostalgia is Really, Really Good For You

How nostalgia increases optimism and self-esteem

Back to the future: new research from the University of Southampton shows that feeling nostalgic about the past will increase optimism about the future.

Dr Tim Wildschut, co-author of the study, says: “Nostalgia raises self-esteem which in turn heightens optimism.”

“Memories of the past can help to maintain current feelings of self-worth and can contribute to a brighter outlook on the future. Our findings do imply that nostalgia, by promoting optimism, could help individuals cope with psychological adversity … For example, nostalgic reverie can combat loneliness.”

The researchers studied three ways to activate nostalgia: asking participants to bring to mind a nostalgic event and write about it; having participants listen to a song they identified as nostalgic, and having participants read personally nostalgic song lyrics. In all three cases, partipants scored higher on optimism word usage or self-reported higher levels of optimism than the control group.

Next time you need an optimism boost, just employ one of these three strategies!

Image: Prom by seanmcgrath

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