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Nostalgia is related to longing for home, homeland, people or past events. What makes us feel nostalgic and how does it affect human functioning? Theoretically, it would seem that nostalgia can only result in unpleasant consequences, but experiencing nostalgia can be beneficial for us

What is nostalgia and how does it manifest itself?

Nostalgia- it was first described in the 17th century, and Johannes Hofer is considered the creator of the term itself, who observed the occurrence of this phenomenon in Swedish mercenaries living outside their homeland.

The name"nostalgia"comes from a combination of two Greek words: "nostos", meaning "return home" and "algos", translated as "suffering" or "pain" ".

Originally perceived as nostalgia, longing for home or - in a broader sense - for your homeland. Today, however, nostalgia is viewed much more broadly.

Longing, treated as nostalgia, can relate to past times, relationships or various other positive situations. Basically, a nostalgic mood can occur in each of us:What makes such a phenomenon occur and what is the impact of nostalgia on human functioning?

When do we feel nostalgic?

Nostalgia can literally appear out of nowhere - it happens that suddenly memories about old friends, partners or the past appear in our head. However, there are several factors that can uniquely provoke nostalgia.

These are, for example, olfactory and tactile stimuli - it happens that, for example, a smell will remind us of a unique holiday trip that took place in the near or distant past.

The senses of smell and touch, in turn, are closely related to the amygdala, which is an element of the nervous system that particularly affects people's emotions. This is why smells and touch are supposed to have such a special impact on the occurrence of nostalgia - but they are not the only ones that can provoke such feelings.

Other factors that can make us feel nostalgic are the weather and music. Here, as an example, you can give a song that we heard during an extremely important event - e.g.the first kiss - and in such a situation, hearing a given song again can bring back positive memories and lead to nostalgia.

Nostalgia is not a disease

The view of nostalgia has changed significantly over time. Initially, it was considered essentially a disease entity. In people who were first described with nostalgia - that is, Swedes staying outside their country - apart from homesickness, other problems were also noted, such as e.g. depressed mood, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances or crying episodes, and palpitations.

Recognizing nostalgia as a disease lasted quite a long time - medics were talking about it in the nineteenth century, but at the end of it, it was basically no longer considered a disease entity.

With all these changes, it happened that nostalgia was considered a symptom of some mental disorder or one of the stages in the development of various problems of this type. It was also associated with melancholy.

With time, however, the treatment of nostalgia as a negative phenomenon was abandoned - it happened after scientists put forward several different intriguing conclusions about the impact of this phenomenon on the functioning of people.

Nostalgia can bring benefits

The longing of many of us is used to seeing something that is not beneficial. It turns out, however, that this longing related to nostalgia can have an exceptionally good impact on our emotions and well-being - improve our mood, increase self-esteem or lead to the feeling that we have extremely close relationships with different people (or have been connected).

All this may seem quite incomprehensible - but there is an easy way to explain why nostalgia can actually have a positive effect on us. We can feel nostalgia, for example, when we feel bad in general - be it in our professional life, whether we have some relationship problems or financial problems. In such situations, we may feel a longing for the old days - a different workplace or the initial stages of a relationship.

It would seem that contrasting such positive aspects from the past with current unpleasant events should lead to even greater sadness. But it's different - in most people, nostalgia makes them feel better.

If we remember good events and a past that was better than the present, it means that it used to be good - and since it was like that in our life, it may be like that again sometime. In this approach, it can even be said that nostalgia can give us hope for a better tomorrow.

It's worth itknow

Nostalgia and loneliness

Nostalgia is especially common for those who are lonely. Such people may miss the times when their lives were full of people close to them and affectionate. So when they get into a nostalgic mood, their longing may be for some kind of relationship with others.

And here, however, nostalgia can have beneficial effects: remembering various friends from the past or longing for loved ones with whom we have not seen each other for a long time, thoughts may appear in our heads about how strong these ties were and what degree of security they caused us.

And in such a mechanism it is possible that nostalgia will not hurt us at all, and vice versa - it will lead to beneficial effects for our mind.

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