What is the science behind Nostalgia?

Don't you all wish that you could just live in the past? Curl up in it like a warm blanket, covering all the cold unknowns and unexposed realities of the upcoming days. Hide yourself in its warmth, the ecstatic days of pure joy and happiness and limited worries.

The comfort of childhood and zero responsibility. Nestling down into the abyss of better days and easy living? Those beautiful moments of childhood at the park. Those wonderful days of kindergarten with the worries only of ice-cream at snack time.

Those perfect moments of carnival rides and Disney movies, absorbing only the most precious and joyous moments of life. Those perfect days followed by beautiful nights when nothing went wrong and you were always so glad. Let's dive deep into this thing.

The past is as evasive a dream as the future. Always distorted, always yearned for and always seen as better days.

It keeps you away from the truth of the present and pain of reality. However, like the unexpected future, the past itself is an idealised version of something you want to be, not what you know as a reality.

When you recall a memory of the past, you are remembering it as your brain has chosen to distort it, but not the reality of the events. Cause of this distorted and nice qualities, people spend days wrapped up in the fantasy of it. Thus the disfigured idea of better days and times you wish was again called as the common infliction of Nostalgia.

The study done by the Alan R. Hirsch, tells that in his reports ''Nostalgia- A Neuropsychiatric Understanding", Nostalgia is a yearning for an idealized past- 'A longing for a sanitized impression of the past, what in psychoanalysis is referred to as a screen memory'- not a real recreation of the past but rather a combination of many several memories all put up together and in this method, all the negative emotions are filtered out.

You all remember fleeting emotions. You do not remember the seconds of sadness before it. You don't remember the pain of the hours after. But, what you remember is only what your biased mind has chosen to recall.

So, as it is stated by Hirsch that Nostalgia isn't about remembering memories at all, it doesn't relate to a specific memory too but rather it's an emotional state. But, further studies are still going on about this.

What do you think about how many types of Nostalgia would be there? Haha! Think think! Basically, there are two different types of Nostalgia:

1. Restorative Nostalgia
2. Reflective Nostalgia

Restorative Nostalgia is when you feel like things used to be better and you long to recall the past.

On the other hand Reflective Nostalgia- is when you feel nostalgic about how different things used to be, but then you maintain a sense of amused acceptance. So, these are the two types of Nostalgia which are known till now.

If you want to better understand how the brain feels when it triggers Nostalgia then let's look at what's physically happening inside the brain during moments of nostalgia.

It's for sure that when you experience Nostalgia it stimulates metabolic activity and naturally, that means that the blood flow is there to the various regions of the brain. So, that's a lot of surface area firing on all cylinders. So, this is how Nostalgia and your brain are connected.

Are you the one who get the biggest doses of nostalgia after listening to the music? If yes, then you tend to experience a surge of activity in your brain.

If you are the one who tends to tip the sadness meter on the Affective Neuroscience Personality Scale, then you are more prone to experience Nostalgia, more likely as a result of being more in touch with your emotions and feelings.

But, keep one thing in mind that don't let that fool you into thinking that Nostalgia is a sad disorder or something serious. In fact, many studies have proven to show Nostalgia as a feel-good trait that exhibits comfort and flexibility which is a kind of life of a mental comfort blanket. So, this is how Nostalgia affects your emotions.

Many researchers told that powerful Nostalgic memories can help you a lot in coping up with the transition in your lives, gives you comfort and also helps in the sense of identity. So, let's see it's benefits.

1. Nostalgia makes you more optimistic

In the study which was carried in 2013 founded that Nostalgia doesn't just have to do with the past, it can even increase your resilience and positively about the future too which naturally increases your self-esteem.

So, basically when you feel nostalgic then you refuel your sense of positivity. Aha! Isn't it amazing!

2. It makes you feel warmer

Are you that person who feels more Nostalgic in the month of December and January basically talking about the colder months? If yes, then many studies show that those who feel more Nostalgic in colder months then they experience more warmth when they become Nostalgic.

It means that actually, it helps you to feel more physically comfortable in the cold surroundings. Though the researchers are not fully sure about it, but it's likely a product of the brain's reward system and how it explains the stimuli.

3. It can change your decision-Making

If you come across a lot of Nostalgia in advertising and political campaigning then there's a solid reason behind it. Guess what?

In 2014 many studies revealed that when you feel nostalgic then you make bigger purchasing decisions and spends more money in one go.

If you see the thing which fascinates you then it influences your rational ability to be conservative with spending which naturally results in lots of shopping and more wastage of money.

4. It prevents depression

Have you heard that the person who feels more Nostalgic is considered to be depressed? Yes, chances are there that you might have listened to this statement. For many years, those who experience extreme Nostalgia were called a depressed person. It was basically seen as a lack of commitment to the future and a burdening attachment to the past.

But, now the recent studies of 'The New York Times' reveals that Nostalgia actually works to counteract depression. The act of memorising the past has been shown to prevent loneliness and anxiety. When you speak lovingly about the past then you tend to become more hopeful for the future so by remembering the past you look forward to what's to come for you in future.

Isn't this is so interesting to know about the science behind Nostalgia? A healthy Nostalgia sparked by happy and wonderful memories is also a healthy symptom of appreciation for all those experiences that have real value in life.

The most important thing is for the present to be severely enriched by the positive feelings and memories of the past. So, basically, Nostalgia is a human emotion and it aware you by making you appreciate everything that the passage of time shows you that it is important in your life.

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