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How Much Nostalgia Is Good for Your Mental Health?

October 25, 2023 Mahevash Shaikh

It is normal and pleasurable to revisit the past and reminisce every now and then. But have you ever wondered how much nostalgia is good for your mental health? Let's find out.

What Is Nostalgia and Why Is It Good for Your Mental Health?

According to Verywell Mind,

"Nostalgia is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. Nostalgia can be triggered by something reminding an individual of an experience from the past. It is often characterized as a longing or desire to return to a former time or place. It can be a source of comfort in times of sadness or distress."1

The above definition makes it clear that nostalgia is good for your mental health. In fact, there are several mental health benefits associated with nostalgia. Here are three benefits I have personally experienced:

  1. Improved mood -- Sometimes, I go through old photos when I feel super low. Minutes later, I always end up feeling a whole lot better.
  2. Reduced boredom -- Depression and boredom often go hand in hand. Going by what I have seen, one can worsen the other, and vice versa. Therefore, it is crucial to minimize boredom, especially if you feel it for an extended period. Indulging in nostalgia by talking with a friend about, say, high school shenanigans can fight boredom and make you laugh at your younger, wilder self. 
  3. Less loneliness -- This is perhaps the best benefit of nostalgia because we are currently living in the friendship recession. When you go through old photos, you are likely to reminisce about some of the people in the photos with you. When you speak with a friend about the past, you are likely to feel more connected to them. 

How Much Nostalgia Is Bad for Your Mental Health?

As they say, everything is good in moderation. If you indulge in nostalgia regularly or excessively, in the sense that you are no longer living in the present, you are in trouble.

According to The Wellness Corner, 

"Feelings of longing and grief are likely to occur after a person loses someone they love. It can mimic depression and turn into a nostalgia disorder. It can lead to hopelessness and thoughts of suicide. Some people experience nostalgia as an issue that never truly goes away. They can get lost in it and become depressed about their past life and relationships because they're missing their loved ones too much. Sometimes, nostalgia can be a side effect of depression."2

So, when was the last time you felt nostalgic? Do you need some inspiration to take a pleasant trip down memory lane? If yes, check out the video below. 

Sources

  1. Cuncic, A., MA. (2023, May 22). Nostalgia—How to enjoy reflecting on the past. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-nostalgia-5272007

  2. Wellness, T. (2022b, August 16). Nostalgia – Is Missing The Past Good Or Bad For You? The Wellness Corner. https://www.thewellnesscorner.com/blog/nostalgia-thinking-about-past-good-or-bad

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2023, October 25). How Much Nostalgia Is Good for Your Mental Health? , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalhealthforthedigitalgeneration/2023/10/how-much-nostalgia-is-good-for-your-mental-health



Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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