We all have heard the word Nostalgia for sure, but most of the time, we all have heard about it as a bad emotion or something with not so good effects, but this is not true. Nostalgia may cause both bad and good effects, and maybe little more good effects than bad. In this topic we are going to talk about the meaning and effects of nostalgia, so let's see what it is.
Meaning of Nostalgia
Nostalgia is the state of being residence sick or a feeling for the past where you think you were so happy and want to get it again. It may have bad or good results, but most of the time have good results. For example, missing childhood or wishing to return in childhood or younger age by elders is also a kind of Nostalgia. In easier words, we can say Nostalgia is an emotion or very strong wish to live the past life again or to go back in the past moment.
Origin of word 'Nostalgia'
The word "nostalgia" is derived from the ancient Greek word "nostos," which means homecoming, and "algos," which means pain. It was firstly used in the 17th century by few medical students to tell that the Swiss Soldiers were going through Anxiety disorders because of staying away from home.
Effect of nostalgia
As Nostalgia has both good and bad effects, it was known for bad effects in ancient times. However, with time, it is proven as an important emotion and good for human psychological growth; Nostalgia gives good results as sometimes it improves moods, increases social affections, makes a person positive, and sometimes refreshes them. Still, at the same point, it has bad effects too, like it makes a person less satisfied in life, sometimes causes depression and sometimes leads to a feeling of low self-esteem, etc.
Positive effects of Nostalgia
- Improves mood: Sometimes when a person thinks about his good memories and positive past, he forgets about his present and starts feeling good. So if a person is not going through good times, nostalgia works as a mood changer to them also old times gives them an idea about what to do and makes them happy and ready to face the situation. Even if a person isn't going through any bad time, but he has a bad mood, old memories can make him happy.
- Increase socialism: When we think about the past, we think about the people we had in our old times and how much happy we were with them. It makes us miss them, and we automatically try to connect with them or contact them, which increase our affection toward them and social connectivity. So, it's a positive point of Nostalgia. For example, sometimes our grandparents share our parent's childhood days and tell how our parents and their friends spent time with each other, and during this conversation, they ask our parents about friends and ask to contact them or call them to meet.
- Makes a person positive: When someone thinks about the past he had, the problem he went through in the past, and the conditions, he moved on through makes a person positive about life and makes him ready not to give up on things. This is one of the most amazing pros about Nostalgia, with the least negative effects.
- Gives a person aim: Sometimes, when we start feeling low and start facing things, we forget what we started or our aims. However, when we think about the old times or people we left behind, we can remember our goals and feel comfortable working to achieve them. So we can say that nostalgia gives a person aim to live his life.
- Helps in psychological growth: When a person thinks about their previous life, they grow and move on from their past, they learn from their mistakes also take good lessons. It makes a person more focused on his personal growth and makes him more willing to make himself a better person. When a person compares the present with the past, he often thinks "what I have become, I need to grow more and be what I want to be." It helps him grow and become a better person.
- As a political tool: Some political parties working for many centuries use the past as their weapon to show whatever they did for their country. Also, their opposition party uses their past to showcase what bad their party did to the country. So like this, political parties use nostalgia as their tool to show the cultural and social anxiety or growth to convince the public toward them and vote for them. This may be counted as a pro and a con both as sometimes people start choosing their politicians based on these points without focusing on whether they are deserving or not.
- As a relief: Nostalgia sometimes helps a person to stay calm and to relax. A few past memories give them relief and comfort maybe only for a short time but save them from being tired or worried. However, there can be opposite results of nostalgia as it may keep a person limited to his past.
Negative effects of Nostalgia
The single cause why Nostalgia is harmful to humans is "the human tendency of living in their past". They don't want to accept the present and the past is gone which makes them weaker and harm their lifestyles. Apart from this, the other drawbacks of Nostalgia can be as follow;
- Depression: Sometimes, when a person goes through their past memories and found some irreplaceable or hard to forget part, he may have depression as a result. For example, if someone went through some trauma in the past or lost someone so close, the past memories can harm his mental health or stop them from moving on. The vision of those things, again and again, can throw them into depression and harm them a lot as can also give them suicidal thoughts.
- Lower self-esteem: Nostalgia is known for his good effect of increasing a person's confidence or self-awareness but sometimes (or can say several times) it act in just opposite way and make a person feel low about himself. For example, people often say "I was stronger at that time but now I don't think I'll be able to do so because I don't feel that much strong". These kinds of feelings make them feel bad about themselves, and they start feeling less confident, which may lead to low self-esteem.
- No satisfaction toward life: When a person compares their past and present, sometimes they start thinking that the present and future of the life they are living isn't that good as their past. It may make them feel bad and less satisfied with their life. They start less enjoying their life and staying sad for most of the time which are the worst effect of Nostalgia as this destroy mental health badly and make them ill, sometimes this also can end a person's desire to live.
"Nostalgia" may have many good effects. Still, at the same time, sometimes it acts opposite, not because the memories aren't good or because it's a bad emotion, but because humans don't want to accept the fact and move on. They keep staying in their past. This effect their present even sometimes parents keep telling or comparing their child with their past lives, which somewhere affects their child's mental growth or make them feel complex about themselves.
All we need is to accept and keep old memories as good memories and only take lessons from them and move on. Only at this condition, we can say nostalgia is an amazing process and help to grow human psychology. Still, apart from this, for those who accept their past and have a positive mindset, nostalgia is a good and effective process that is very helpful in their personal growth. So, in the end, we can conclude that the effect of nostalgia is completely dependent on the person's mentality and the way he takes nostalgia, it can be good or bad for him.