Today I am here to awaken your memories. I propose that you close your eyes and think about your childhood, remember the aroma of your grandparents’ house, the smell of your mother’s hair, your father’s good night kisses, the fights and games with your brothers, the intensity of love in adolescence, illusion in childhood. Remember something, whatever you want, but feel it.
You’ve done it? Now you are in a position to understand that what I am coming to talk about today is nostalgia… Feeling nostalgia has no age or culture, both adults and children do it and probably more frequently than we think.
“Enjoying the past is living twice”
-Marcus Valerius Martialis-
Actually this is not new for anyone because we are perfectly aware that from time to time we do it and we are able to do it completely naturally. However, the reason why we resort to longing and the effect it has on us is relevant …
The past is the prelude to the future
Recreating yourself in memories helps calm your mood, raise your self-esteem and strengthen your interpersonal relationships. Nostalgia is a source of balance and psychic well-being.
It seems that even though we sometimes suffer from it, remembering and feeling those memories vividly and vividly is a way to keep ourselves emotionally fit.
In addition, nostalgia bridges us between the past and the present, which helps us perceive the continuity of our self and be aware that we share many qualities with the person we were. Nostalgia produces that feeling that yesterday and today merge into one …
In any case, nostalgia has not always had this varied connotation; If we pay attention to the etymology of the word itself, we will realize that it derives from the Greek terms nóstos (return) and algos (pain) and, therefore, in a literal sense describes the pain produced by the desire to return to the past.
However, today we associate this with multiple positive concepts, such as remembering happy old times that make us smile.
Memories and their effects
It is possible that on more than one occasion you have tortured yourself longing for a previous time in which you were accompanied by a significant person who is no longer by your side, but it is likely that when you remember your childhood you feel good and smile to yourself.
However, I want to make a note here and tell you that one type of recurring memories that you should put aside is that of mistakes. If you were wrong, don’t insist on going back, it doesn’t make much sense to you and it just doesn’t make you feel good.
Memory and depression
But remembering can also become highly destructive to a person who is very sad or depressed. Why? Because you will experience your memories in a very complex way and unleash a comparative injury in your thoughts that will make you enter an infinite loop.
Contrary to what we said before, it can make you feel that the past is very far away and that, compared to the person you were, you are now a real disaster.
The perceived temporal distance will be the reason why these people feel worse when they remember something positive, which will move them further and further away from reality.
For this reason, if you feel sad or know of someone who is going through a bad pothole or “living in the past,” try to eliminate that tendency to remember “a happy time.” With this I want to tell you that, although the intention is good, you can do a lot of damage trying to lift the spirits of someone sad by reminding them of happy moments.
And, as you may have ever thought, we tend to be more homesick when we are sad and upset. It is due to two reasons, one negative and one positive. The first is that we can attend to that “any time past was better” loop, solidifying the foundation of suffering and defeating ourselves. The second fulfills that positive function by raising our well-being if we attend to the memories that motivate us to enhance our spirits.
Use your memories wisely
We have also said that remembering can help us strengthen our bonds. You will remember what unites you to others, how important and valuable you are to them and how significant your support or theirs was to overcome that pothole. No one was as close to that person as you, right?
With all this, giving free rein to our memories can do us a lot of good but we have to take special care that they do not serve to sink us further if our mood is not good. Nostalgia not only provides us with well-being, but also has a preventive effect to protect us from negative thoughts that disturb us.
You can go to your memories to calm your bad mood, to relax, to smile and to give yourself reasons to continue creating many other beautiful memories. Open your photo album and reread old letters, find the place that corresponds to your memories and don’t let them get lost in oblivion because they are there to make you happy.
Use the past as a stepping stone, not a sofa
The past can serve as a sofa to grieve or as a springboard to continue growing. The choice is in your thinking.
Image courtesy of Versta