Did you know that nostalgia can actually make you happier in your old age? The truth is nostalgic emotions help to induce a certain calmness, inspiration, contentment, and creativity for people above fifty. The concept is interesting because most memories are “accidental”. Our brains are flooded with thoughts, negative and positive. But we have the power to decide what we wish to remember. There is a common saying that holidays make us nostalgic; this happens mainly because of a feeling of belongingness. It is these memories that we choose to remember when we grow older. Since nostalgia is both a thought process and an emotion, it is called a blended emotion. According to research at the University of Southampton, nostalgia is not really an escape from our present; instead, it is source of strength that helps us face the future.
How can we use nostalgia to stay healthier and happier after 50?
Nostalgia helps to bring about a sense of calmness that helps us deal with anxiety and stress. Using nostalgia, you can cognitively monitor what makes your life stable and gives you a sense of continuity. It helps you fight negativity and a feeling of loneliness and sadness. Staying far away from kids can have a strong impact on your emotional wellbeing. It is nostalgia that helps one combat this feeling of loneliness and keeps you connected with people you miss. Memories reinforce connection and keep you happier. This explains why nostalgia is often used in treating people experiencing memory distortion and confusion in old age.
Here are some ways you can use nostalgia to become happy:
- As you fall asleep, you can practice what is called “memory walking” where you can focus on a place, a person, or an event in the past and explore this from different angles. It helps you relive that event in the past; remember the sounds and sights that accompanied that experience.
- Another easy to way to use nostalgia is to surround yourself with things that made you happy from the past. Our lives are so hectic and fast-paced that we often forget the small things that made us happy. So, look for positive items from your past and treasure these to bring back those feelings of positivity and feel emotionally energized. Instead of hoping others will do this for you, you should ensure that you give all these items the place they deserve in your home. You can some time out each day to reminisce about how much you have been able to achieve in all these years and how much you can still learn.
- Have you considered writing your own life’s story? This could be an excellent way to relive all those happy memories and gain strength from these. It can be the most enriching experience that gives you the encouragement and strength to move forward. Moreover, when you think back and write down your own story, it is your brain that is most benefitted. It keeps your brain healthy and active.
- If you find happiness in music that you heard in the past, why not bring these back now? Creating your own happiness playlist is an excellent way to drive away those blues. Choose songs and musical pieces that are associated with positive memories and make your own soundtrack using Spotify.
Each of these small changes can help you lead a content and satisfied life even when you are 50 and more. So, what are you waiting for?