Thursday, December 15th, 2016
Researchers from the University of Southampton have determined that feeling nostalgic or reminiscing about the past can increase optimism about the future. In the study, investigators explored the concept that nostalgia or reminiscence is not merely a reflection of the past; rather, its scope extends into the future, with a positive outlook.
In the study, participants were asked to recall a nostalgic event and write about it. A second group were asked to record an ordinary event from their past. The team found that the number of optimistic words included in the nostalgic narratives were significantly higher than in the ordinary stories.
They also found that people who listened to nostalgic songs reported higher levels of optimism.
Nostalgia is experienced frequently and virtually by everyone and it can maintain psychological comfort. They found that nostalgia raises self-esteem which in turn heightens optimism. Nostalgia does have the capacity to facilitate perceptions of a more positive future.
Summing-up: Memories of the past can help to maintain current feelings of self-worth and can contribute to a brighter outlook on the future.