The Homunculus

Psychology, Anthropology, Evolution

Archive for September, 2009

nostalgia and us

Posted by Joy Icayan on September 23, 2009

I was recently in my old high school, now very much transformed after eight years. I haven’t thought about high school in a while, still the familiar surroundings made me long for those good old days when we’d stare at the window on the third floor of the school building and watch a cow graze under the sun for an hour. Never mind that for me, as for a lot of people, high school was a conflicting time, I was frustrated and sulked often, and there was nothing much to do but stare at cows.

According to Vladimir Lerner, nostalgia comes from two Greek words nostos (home) and agnos (pain) and refers to  “the pain a sick person feels because he wishes to return to his native land, and fears never to see it again.”   Several studies conducted by Wildschut, Tim et al showed many key findings on nostalgia: one of which is that ‘bolsters social bonds, increases positive self-regard, and generates positive affect’. Perhaps this is related to the finding that nostalgia can also arise out of loneliness. We often think of old lovers longingly after a breakup, or the recklessness of our younger (supposedly happier) days when we are feeling down. Nostalgia is common among isolated people or the elderly (remember the neverending during our time… stories from grandparents). Remembering good times with others does make us perceive them, and even ourselves in a better light and helps us focus on positive memories.

Links:

Nostalgia: Content, Triggers, Functions.

Nostalgia: Psychology, Psychopathology, Therapy

The Psychology of Nostalgia

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