Nostalgia: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
Many psychologists once viewed nostalgia as a bad thing and counseled us to avoid it. They labeled it a form of escapism — or living in the past. New research, however, suggests that simply recalling happy memories benefits us almost as much as the moments themself.
What’s more, nostalgia keeps us grounded, boosts our memory, and provides us with perspective. The claims go on to say re-living special moments boosts mood, inspires hope, and creates feelings of warmth.
A favorite Facebook feature is the “On This Day” memory. Admit it, these photos usually bring a smile and deep-down warm and fuzzy feelings. I am grateful for my memories.
But we don’t always need a physical picture to remind us of special moments. We carry many in our hearts.
Today, with eyes closed, I waded through the recesses of my mind, recalling joy-filled moments as my fingers captured them via the keyboard. I didn’t overthink the memories; I simply recorded what surfaced. When finished, three main categories emerged from the jumbled mess: Childhood, Motherhood, and Last Week.
I share a few of the memories I’m grateful for below and encourage you to try this. Jotting your memories on paper, rather than typing, may be even better.
- The tender nape of my son’s neck as he bent over his beginning reader to decipher the words printed there
- “That was nice of you to hold the door open for me, Mommy,” my three-year-old piped in her adult voice as we entered the house after her day at preschool.
- The time I was called from a conference to take a phone call. It scared me senseless until I heard my sad, seven-year-old urging me to hurry home because she needed me.
- Going with friends after basketball practice to a little rural store for my favorite snack: chocolate milk, a honey bun, and Fritos.
- Summer days with my sister watching for the Book Mobile bringing us new treasures to read.
- The sun melting and spreading like butter as it sank below the horizon over the Atlantic.
- The wit, honesty, and energy of five grandkids as they show me life through their eyes.
While it’s important to live in the moment, taking time out to recall sweet memories of days gone by benefits us in multiple ways. We’re not dwelling in the past when the moments are ones we cherish. Remembrances can be a trigger to prayer as The Message translates:
Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart.Philippians 1:3-5 (MSG)
So go ahead, look at those old photos. It’s good for your health and fills you with gratitude.
Thank You for the memories of those I hold dear. Memories are one of Your sweetest blessings and help keep us connected to each other through our years on earth.
What special memories are you grateful for?While it's important to live in the moment, taking time out to recall sweet memories of days gone by benefits us in multiple ways. Remembrances can be a trigger to prayer. #memories #nostalgia Click To Tweet