Why nostalgia is important? Nostalgia is a shield against existential challenges. Evoking positive experiences and feelings from the past can help you cope better with the present and the future.
January for me is the month to think about what happened the year before. To make a balance, to see what went well and what went less well. What I achieved, and what I would need to continue to work on. Thinking about people I met, I worked with, I shared nice moments. But also places I have been, perfumes, food, sun and rain…It is the time for a bit of nostalgia.
What is nostalgia?
It is a rear view mirror that reflects a particular feeling of a time or place or an emotion that happened in the past. It could be the memory of your first love, a yellowed photograph found by chance, or an object that reminds you of something. The Internet can help make you nostalgic. With one click you may find, for example, the soundtrack of a pleasant moment you lived, or you can look at the photos you published on your social media account.
Experts tell us that nostalgia is a complex emotion, mainly, but not always, positive.
It can give you greater sensitivity and can help you understand the present.
The word nostalgia was invented in 1680 by a student (Johannes Hofer) from the University of Basel who combined the Greek word nóstos (homecoming) and algia (suffering). He described it as the pain that the Swiss soldiers felt in battles, and their wish to go home.
Current studies distinguish nostalgia from melancholy because it has a stimulating effect and does not cause symptoms of illness, rather it tries to fight them.
Researchers from the University of Southampton (UK) have observed that nostalgia is a vital component of mental health that motivates us, and increases our self-esteem.
Nostalgia also represents a reservoir of emotions that you can consciously access and that you can also unconsciously use in your daily life to reinforce the feelings of your past.
By doing so, you can find some help to cope with the present and the future.
However, the past can obviously be only remembered. You cannot change it, but you can learn from it. Nostalgia does not give you back what you have lost but it helps you to better manage the life you are living.