I went to a very interesting lecture at Aalborg Universtity. Constantine, a professor of social and personality psychology, came to discuss the effects that nostalgia can have on individuals. I want to share this positive experience of mine with you (briefly.
We have all heard about nostalgia but we generally know less about its effects on us. A classic example of nostalgia can be a specific odor or hearing a song in the radio
that takes us some years back and warms us with some great memories.
Once the odor is no longer present or the song is over, I would have thought that the nostalgic effects also vanished without putting a lot of consideration into it.
However does research on this subject show that the effects are greater and more prolonged than anticipated.
Here are some examples of its impact:
• Increases optimism
• Increases inspiration
• Increases creativity
• Increase incentives
One study was conducted where the subjects were asked to think of some pleasant event from the past and the results showed that subjects felt happier and were therefore more optimistic and filled with inspiration. These effects lasted them throughout the day.
Creativity was also measured and it turned out that the participants who were in the nostalgia group were more open to new experiences and were consequently more creative in their writings.
Another group of participants consisted of students who were planning a test. They were divided into two groups, so that half was asked to think about an event from their childhood that give arise to good feelings compared to the control group. Results showed that the nostalgia group performed better on the test than the control group.
I was so inspired by this lecture that before my last exam I put some nostalgic music on and even though I cannot confirm that my good grade was due to nostalgic effects I can say that my exam anxiety was severely reduced.
It is worth mentioning that raising nostalgic emotions is not a treatment form. However, this approach can increase your robustness throughout the day and equip you better for many daily circumstances.
Therefore, I recommend that if you have a writer’s block, get stuck in some unpleasant task, planning a test, tired of your partner or simply tired of the weather I recommend that you listen to some good tunes from the past and see if it doesn’t have a positive effect on your mood.