Tapping Nostalgic Events to Increase HappinessTapping 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.

1. Movies

Plan a movie night and watch an old favorite film together that allows you and your loved ones to escape into the past together.

Need help choosing a movie to watch? Check out our blog posts on movies about grandparents, classic black and white movies, and coming of age movies

2. Foods

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.

3. Destinations

Visit an old stomping ground or favorite place, whether it’s a former school, restaurant, or park, and share fond memories with each other.

4. Music

Listen to old songs and share the time and place you remember hearing the music and even create an unofficial dance party!

5. Pictures

Look through old photographs of events, travel destinations, and holidays, and take the opportunity to learn more about each other.

6. Books

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.

Natalie Drugan is a nutrition and lifestyle health coach. Natalie is dedicated to helping others make healthy choices centered on clean food, toxic-free environments and happy living. Natalie received her nutrition health coaching certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC, the world’s largest nutrition school. As a Certified Nutrition Health Coach, she studied over 100 dietary theories and learned from world-renowned experts and doctors including Andrew Weil, MD, Walter Willet, MD, Mark Hyman, MD and Deepak Chopra, MD. Natalie is board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). Additionally, Natalie received her BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University.

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