Tapping Nostalgic Events to Increase Happiness
Nostalgia is defined, according to Google, as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal association.”
Often times, we experience moments of nostalgia triggered by one of our five senses (sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch), which transport us back in time to a happy, familiar place. For example, a certain smell could remind you of a home-cooked meal you had as a child or a song could take you back to a significant event, such as high school prom. These memories can bring back cherished and heartwarming feelings of happiness that are so good for the soul.
Here are ways you can ignite good-for-the soul nostalgia while creating new memories with your loved ones.
Plan a movie night and watch an old favorite film together that allows you and your loved ones to escape into the past together.
Cook a family-favorite recipe together and share associated memories and cooking techniques that help pass down family traditions. The kids can help out, too – just try one of these 9 kid-friendly recipes.
Visit an old stomping ground or favorite place, whether it’s a former school, restaurant, or park, and share fond memories with each other.
Listen to old songs and share the time and place you remember hearing the music and even create an unofficial dance party!
Look through old photographs of events, travel destinations, and holidays, and take the opportunity to learn more about each other.
Buy a question, trivia and/or conversation book and take turns answering nostalgia-stimulating questions, such as, “What was your favorite holiday tradition as a child?” Additionally, there are books/journals, such as Memories for my Grandchild: A Keepsake to Remember, that allow you to document past experiences, creating a priceless family keepsake.
These activities are great ways to increase happiness, particularly during times that may be more difficult for you and your loved ones. In fact, previous studies, as documented in the New York Times, have proven the benefits of nostalgia. It’s been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety, help deal with life transitions, better cope with concerns about death, increase closeness with others, and literally make people feel warmer on cold days.
Take the opportunity to tap into the past with your loved ones, learn something new about them and light warm feelings of happiness.