Some time ago, Nostalgia was thought to be a psychological disease but scientists now say it actually is good for your brain health! A childhood friend laughing, a dear aunt singing, orange and yellow leaves of fall, or just a drool-worthy image of teen-star Devon Sawa; you want to live it all again, don’t you? Nostalgia, it turns out is like being homesick but in a positive way. It is a feeling of pleasure and longing with a tinge of sadness. It can be enjoyed to the extent of curing loneliness, depression, and social anxiety. Here are a few simple ways to enjoy some nostalgia.
Employ music to your rescue
Music is a powerful nostalgia tool. Music takes you back to the exact place and time on the memory lane, almost instantly and without much effort. It also brings back the feelings of the time, still fresh and fragrant. The neurons of the brain jump into action and recollect whatever is scattered in different parts of the brain yet woven together with the specific notes of music. Beatles, backstreet boys, or a lullaby; create a playlist of music you have fond memories of and hit the play button!
Use images to evoke pleasant memories
The scarce, ever-prized, black-and-white pictures are always a treat to the eyes and mind. Taking pictures back then had to be on a special occasion. It was neither easy nor meaningful to capture everything and anything. It had to be something special, beautiful, and festive to be photo-worthy. So maybe, you would want to dust some dirt off that old photo album and re-live the lively moments that splashed into the negative camera-roll film.
Trigger your senses with that well-known aroma
Named as the “Proustian phenomenon”, the smell can revive an array of memories in a split second. The taste and aroma of tea caused a spree of memories of Proust’s narrator to flow-seamlessly in the novel “In Search of Lost Time”. While smell triggers reminiscence like other senses, it takes an extra step in inciting emotions. The smell-evoked memories tend to have more details as well. Though there aren’t many smells to choose from, yet the smell of food almost always evokes fond memories. Why not start with a good old recipe of beloved granny!
Meet an old friend
Talking to your high school friend tends to bring out the unfiltered, youthful and carefree you! Schedule your meetings with old friends and acquaintances. Catching up with old friends, chatting over common old topics will make you feel more at home, more connected with yourself, and bolster your self-confidence. Do all of this more often.
Recreate the fond memory
You can recreate the scene. Either travel to an appropriate place or create the scene at your current place. Lakeside, sunset, countryside farms, trail into the forest, or your childhood summer vacation spot; plan a visit.
Go through your old items
A gift by a dear relative, a favourite toy, a lovely dress, or a dear cassette; open your old closet and run your hands through once-your-favourite things. Those are small tokens of joy that take you back on the path of fond memories. Lay back, run your fingers through your things and enjoy being nostalgic.
The List of Do Nots!
Past, on the other hand, is also marked with dots of disappointment, despair, anger, irreparable injuries, and irrevocable losses. Certain foods, music, smell, photographs, and places can remind of the negative aspects of life. Sometimes, a good past can also turn a villain in the story of the present. And you could get stuck in past. Here are a few don’ts to watch out for. Avoid them to let your nostalgic reverie enthrall you.
Do not compare past and present
Nostalgia may help you reminisce your former, brighter and smarter self, but your not-so-smart you may feel even worse and depressed. The problem lies in comparing. It is a disaster recipe that leads to self-discontinuity, a word for feeling disconnected from your past. Therefore, do not compare your old-you with new-you. And revisit your fond memories more frequently. Research shows, if you wax nostalgia more frequently, you are likely to feel more connected with your past and thus ending up enjoying nostalgia even more.
Don’t get stuck on old ones, create new ones too!
Today will be yesterday tomorrow. And what will it do? Create a memory. Childhood and teenage years have many positive memories to be nostalgic about. But as we grow old, we tend to dwell upon the more negative aspects of life. As a result, childhood remains a fond memory and thereafter everything seems a negative blur we don’t want to revisit. So we remain trapped in our childhood, willfully neglecting the later life. This prevents us from deriving the happiness we can from the memory bank. Create new memories for tomorrow. Fill your memory bank with an ample number of memories to be nostalgic about.
Do not avoid bad memories
Do not avoid bad experiences and emotions to the point of shutting them inside some corner of your brain. There they lay, like ulcers never healing, ever fresh when uncovered. Accept your past, do not be afraid of suffering, and grieve if you must. This is the only way to heal and let the other good memories eventually take over those parts of your brain. Do not overthink and overanxious. Just let them reveal and let them pass.
Whenever you feel low, sad, or lonely you have a simple way out! Nostalgia improves emotions, social relationships, self-confidence, and self-worth. It makes you feel connected with your past. It improves hopefulness towards the future. It improves brain function. It charges up the brain and boosts memory. It improves general well-being. Advancing research in science has backed up the fact that nostalgia is not a disease, but a cure to many a psychological disease.
Plan your weekend nostalgia party. Follow the simple ways of enjoying nostalgia and let yourself draw beautiful and fulfilling memories from the past. Get ready!Get set for the imagination day!- the polka dot way. Remember that?