Home » News » Nostalgia Can Aid Mental Health

Nostalgia Can Aid Mental Health

Nostalgia Can Aid Mental HealthNew research may dispel the historical perception that nostalgia is a psychiatric disorder, with symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety and depression.

Recently psychologists have focused on the positive and potentially therapeutic aspects of nostalgia. Studies examining nostalgia have shown that it occurs in all cultures and among all age groups.

Despite this wide range, there are some features that are common to the majority of nostalgic experiences. For example, nostalgic thoughts will usually feature a person we are close to, a significant event or a place important to us. In addition, we play a starring role in our nostalgic scenes, although we are generally surrounded by family and friends.

Research suggests that nostalgia can promote psychological health. Inducing nostalgia in a group of study volunteers resulted in overall positive feelings in this group, including higher self-esteem and an increase in the feeling of being loved and protected by others.

Recent work has also shown that nostalgia counteracts effects of loneliness, by increasing perceptions of social support. In addition, that same study found that loneliness can trigger nostalgia.

Another important function of nostalgia may be in providing a link between our past and present selves — that is, nostalgia may provide us with a positive view of the past and this could help to give us a greater sense of continuity and meaning to our lives.

The researchers surmise that nostalgia may also acquire greater significance in old age. Elderly adults are especially vulnerable to social isolation and nostalgia may help them overcome feelings of loneliness.

The authors note that “nostalgia is now emerging as a fundamental human strength.”

They conclude that “nostalgia is uniquely positioned to offer integrative insights across such areas of psychology as memory, emotion, the self and relationships. Nostalgia has a long past and an exciting future.”

Source: Association for Psychological Science

Nostalgia Can Aid Mental Health

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Nostalgia Can Aid Mental Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 26, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/12/15/nostalgia-can-aid-mental-health/3502.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.