Nostalgia induces feeling of being loved and protectedDecember 13th, 2008 - 3:35 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Dec 13 (IANS) Nostalgia, long viewed as a mental and psychiatric disorder, has now been found to have positive and therapeutic uses. Recent studies have shown that nostalgia occurs in all cultures and among all age groups with a common thread running through a majority of them.
For example, nostalgic thoughts will usually feature a person we are close to, a significant event or a place important to us. In addition, we play a starring role in our nostalgic scenes, although we are generally surrounded by family and friends.
Research conducted by University of Southampton psychologist Constantine Sedikides and his colleagues suggests that nostalgia can promote psychological health.
Inducing nostalgia in a group of study volunteers resulted in overall positive feelings in this group, including higher self-esteem and an increase in the feeling of being loved and protected by others.
Recent work has also shown that nostalgia counteracts effects of loneliness, by increasing perceptions of social support. In addition, that same study found that loneliness can trigger nostalgia, according to a Southampton release.
Another important function of nostalgia may be in providing a link between our past and present selves - that is, nostalgia may provide us with a positive view of the past and this could help to give us a greater sense of continuity and meaning to our lives.
The researchers surmise that nostalgia may also acquire greater significance in old age - elderly adults are especially vulnerable to social isolation and nostalgia may help them overcome feelings of loneliness.
The findings were published in the Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Tags: constantine sedikides, elderly adults, nostalgic scenes, nostalgic thoughts, positive feelings, psychological science, sense of continuity, social isolation, study volunteers, university of southampton