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Deanna Woodhouse, LMFT, spoke with Everyday Health on the topic of nostalgia and its influence on mental health. She explains, “nostalgia can be beneficial when dealing with dark times and reminding clients there was once light.”

Nostalgia is that feeling of thinking back on your childhood or early adulthood and wistfully recalling happy memories. Deanna Woodhouse explains that “it’s the positive, wistful, or longing sentiment that one experiences when they are reminded of something from the past.” The question becomes, is it good for our health? Psychologists are particularly interested in the subject.

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology defined five ways feeling nostalgic is good for you. First, it may promote a sense of self. Woodhouse points out that if you are fondly recalling memories that align with your values, this can affirm those ideas and can reunite you with what truly matters to you. Nostalgia can also serve as a yardstick for personal growth, showing you just how far you’ve come. One study discovered that nostalgia may boost mood. It also strengthens bonds with friends and family, by unifying our experiences and fostering social connectedness. And, it could make you optimistic. However, you can also experience sadness and depression with nostalgia. Read more to find out how to make nostalgia more effective.

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