What Is Nostalgia Good For? Quite a Bit, Research Shows

Original article: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/science/what-is-nostalgia-good-for-quite-a-bit-research-shows.html

Science of Nostalgia – It was first thought to be a “neurological disease of essentially demonic cause,” but it turns out that nostalgia is good for your brain. And there’s science to prove it.

EXCERPTS

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“Nostalgia made me feel that my life had roots and continuity. It made me feel good about myself and my relationships. It provided a texture to my life and gave me strength to move forward.”

Nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders.

Nostalgia does have its painful side — it’s a bittersweet emotion — but the net effect is to make life seem more meaningful and death less frightening. When people speak wistfully of the past, they typically become more optimistic and inspired about the future.

“Nostalgia makes us a bit more human,” Dr. Sedikides says. He considers the first great nostalgist to be Odysseus, an itinerant who used memories of his family and home to get through hard times, but Dr. Sedikides emphasizes that nostalgia is not the same as homesickness. It’s not just for those away from home

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