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The Nostalgia – A state of being between past and present

Kirjoittanut: Sunita Kumar - tiimistä Crevio.

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The Nostalgia
A state of being between past and present.

Sunita Kumar





April 2023


Entrepreneurship and Team leadership




2    What is Nostalgia?. 4

2.1   The Science behind Longing. 5

2.2   The psychology around Longing. 6

3    The power of acknowledging our feelings. 8

3.1   Importance of Nostalgia. 8

3.2   The global problem of loneliness and depression. 9

4    How can we cultivate positive emotions as the path forward?. 10

4.1   Creating your own happiness. 12







Every traveller has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering. – Charles Dickens

As spring is folding in Tampere, with the calm cold winds and sunny days, I often go back to the fragrance and shade of the mango trees and coconut tree farms where I played bare foot all my childhood. A small coastal town of western part of India where the filtered sun between the branches peeping and flashing on my face and the wet, brown soil all sticking onto my legs till knees. When the innocent giggles and laughter of my friends and cousins echoing together with birds chirping and shaking tree branches on passing of the breezes. Each of us carry an ocean full of memories in ourselves. A longing of a place or a person or something that made you who you are today is the most human feeling to connect to with yourselves.

2       What is Nostalgia?



A nostalgia is a yearning desire.  Its synonyms are pining, craving, thirst, itch, urge, need, and zeal. (Henkelman 2019).


In my case, I have travelled a lot in different countries from past many years. I had left my home for better opportunities at a very young age of 18 years old despite of the fact that in Indian Culture we have closely knitted families and a system that has strict adherence to being together in thick and thins as family members, sticking to values, etiquette of the society. I grew up in a family that would have around 200 members as relatives coming under one roof for small occasions like a baby’s birth or a marriage in the family. A house well-constructed for a big family with a sibling and 5 more cousins, we all were growing up together with few pets in the house and servants at availability. There used to be frequent occasions like birthdays, celebrations, festivities, and the house would become a crowded hustling bustling local souq.


But it was the longing that made me leave it all and move forward alone. A longing for seeing the cosmopolitan cities, getting educated as a modern woman and being recognised as a winner at life. Achieving the cooperate goals. Being seen as successful and competent person. And we all can relate to the fact that we all keep moving in search of betterment and more stability in life. Some of us are just curious and some of us are looking for outer validation for approval of our take on leaving our comfortable nestles.


As Rumi says, “What you are seeking is seeking you.” After so many years I get recognised as an entrepreneur who built it from scratch, but the longing remains, it stills pins in the heart to be there once again in those farms and with my cousins and servants chasing us to feed us. Playing hide and seek and pranking one of the cousins by just leaving for home while the rest of them kept looking for us behind every tree.


Let’s have a look at what science has to say about our longing. As an avant-garde woman who left home to become more advanced at life and once I have it, I want to go back to what I left. Why? Why is this confusion never ending?







2.1       The Science behind Nostalgia.


Yearning for the past was considered a mental disorder in the 17th century. Later researchers coined this yearning “nostalgia or longing” and considered it to be a cerebral disease, according to Scientific America. Now, we see this yearning as a comfort, a socially acceptable way to sigh and dream for those Christmas mornings, Disney movies and ice cream drippings in the stressful and tense moments of life. The childhood comforts we took for granted for so long come back to warm us in the turbulent and developmental years of becoming an adult.


Nostalgia is not an emotional state, but rather a longing for a sanitized impression of the past. “Nostalgia: a Neuropsychiatric Understanding.” Rather than seeing the past for what it truly was, we recall it as a conglomeration of various memories, filtering negative ones out to integrate the positive ones which creates longing.


Nostalgia has changed over time and has been recently recognized as a beneficial force by the society.


[There are] positive uses to which memory, even painful memory, may be put in the effort to confront the challenges to personal identities of such massive changes in the lives of an individual.


This may be why nostalgia is most dominant among young adults. As life becomes more settled, people become less nostalgic. These memories help when shaping our identity to times of great change, such as leaving home and going to college. Nostalgia is actually a useful technique to help stave off any negative feelings due to the turbulence of becoming independent.


Nostalgia is ambiguous and is often a “flood of feeling[s] that diverts us temporarily from the present and immerses us in the past.” Nostalgic Triggers like

Smells and music in particular can be conducive to nostalgic feelings. (Roy 2015.)


2.2       The psychology around Nostalgia.


As for the psychological effect, it may have been slightly mentioned above as it can induce emotional stress. The psychological effect of a longing feeling may vary for each individual. The emotional stress felt by someone who’s going through an intense longing feeling could also lead to depression because the activities that we used to do in our childhood become different and not as amusing as how it was then. Another psychological effect that we may face when we miss something from past is that we may easily get irritated by many things, not to mention that loneliness also plays a big role in this effect. Another physiological effect that the nostalgic feeling can give is the changes in blood pressure. Because of the emotional stress and the uncertainty of missing something, the adrenaline released can cause a spike in your heart rate and blood pressure. Longing feelings can cause anxiety-especially when you don’t know when to experience the same feeling again. This anxious feeling can cause stomach aches because your brain has a massive impact on your gut health. When we miss something, we often find it hard to sleep and keep tossing around in our bed.  When the hormone is released, it will become rather difficult for our brain and body to power down and rest. (Jumat 2022.)
















3       The power of acknowledging our feelings.




There are many benefits of acknowledging your feelings. By acknowledging your feelings, you can better understand your triggers and learn to work through them. You also can focus on the specific skills you need to work on your mental health issues and explore the root cause of specific emotions you struggle with. When you know your triggers, you can learn to work through them. Everyone is on a unique path and has different mental health issues. What triggers your loved ones may not trigger you in the same way. By learning your triggers, you can begin the process of learning which specific skills and tools will help you the most in reaching your goals and maintaining overall well-being. Acknowledging your feelings will help you to learn what your triggers are. Knowing your triggers can help you understand what atmospheres or situations you should avoid depending on what you are struggling with or what goals you have set. Triggers can change with time, so always be cognizant of what is triggering you and how. (Theguesthouse 2022.)


3.1       Importance of Nostalgia.




Recollecting the positive emotions of a time we consider to be simpler and more positive can help counteract emotions of anxiety, loneliness and depression. Recalling a love from the past helps promote hope for the future and reassures us that life is meaningful. (Roy 2015.)

Nostalgia is actually used to help self-regulate stress signals in the brain. Nostalgia seems to bring online these motivational, or self-regulatory processes in the brain that help us down-regulate or mitigate psychological threats, Research suggests the social aspect of nostalgia motivates us to engage in “prosocial” behaviour. Nostalgia makes us realize the importance of relationships and, in turn, motivates us to connect with friends and pursue romantic relationships.


It’s also strongly associated with optimism and resiliency.


“Nostalgia is a resource that people use to move forward, we saw all of these aspects of nostalgia play out during the pandemic. You probably found yourself watching old movies or listening to old music. When we were in a lockdown, we all felt nostalgic for the “before times” when we could see, in person, our family and friends.


Those feelings were triggered by loneliness and a stressful situation, but they were also motivating — propelling us to believe that if we could just make it through, the reward of those in-person visits would be worth the wait. (Inverse.)



3.2        The global problem of loneliness and depression.


Loneliness has been associated with objective social isolation, depression, introversion, or poor social skills. However, studies have shown these characterizations are incorrect, and that loneliness is a unique condition in which an individual perceives himself or herself to be socially isolated even when among other people. Furthermore, human longitudinal studies and animal models indicate that the deleterious effects of loneliness are not attributable to some peculiarity of individuals who are lonely, instead they are due to the effects of loneliness on ordinary people. Quick and valid measures exist that can diagnose if a patient has abnormally high levels of loneliness and although so-called common sense treatments (eg, social skills training, and provisions for social support and social contact) have proven ineffective, the availability of community programs, behavioral interventions, and online resources is increasing to ad-dress the problem of loneliness.

Loneliness is a public health problem that can be largely solved in our lifetime but doing so will require the full engagement and support of the medical com-munity. The physical health and mental health of a growing number of afflicted individuals and their families and friends are at stake. (J Cacioppo T Cacioppo 2018.)






4       How can we cultivate positive emotions as the path forward?




One of the general issues is with our own cultures, especially in individualistic cultures, there is a tendency to focus on the negative comments around you. Of course, this is partially based on the negativity bias, but culture plays a significant role in how we experience our surroundings.


The second dilemma that many of us have is that we are in constant competition, which means that we are in a constant state of comparison. This alone makes us feel inadequate and makes us question our own identity.


The third difficulty that we are facing is that we base our identity on how we feel. One of the reasons for that is the individualization of emotions. Meaning we assume that every emotion that we are feeling is our personal emotion. This is when the ability to step aside and observe your emotions from the side-line becomes a tremendous change maker.


Not every emotion that you are feeling started within you.

As a reminder, emotions are socially and culturally constructed. They are made to keep us in check. However, especially emotions such as shame and power leave long-lasting negative marks on our individual development. They are designed to make you feel inadequate. Of course, they are necessary tools for normal social behavior but often leave a negative imprint that can easily cause depression and anxiety. More so, they prevent you from becoming the best version of yourself.


Cultivating positive emotions is a necessary step towards balancing out the negativity bias and degrading social effects. And this is how you can do it.



  • Focus on others and how they positively impact you. Specifically, give sincere thanks to others. Research has shown that one of the most effective tools to get your mind away from negativity and negative emotions is to focus on others and how others are bringing joy into your life.
  • Celebrate your strengths. Acknowledging your strengths and what you are good at is important to understand that you do have the power to change and overcome difficult situations.
  • Keep a gratitude journal with you. For example, try to write down every evening the good things that happened throughout the day and read through the journal when you feel down. Explicitly try to focus on the positive emotions that you have experienced in these situations. It might help to describe how it made you feel when something went well. And recall these emotions. Shifting your focus allows you to change your perspective.
  • Speak to someone that has a different perspective on the situation. Yes, sometimes we want sympathy and someone to listen to your rant. Letting frustration out can be one of the methods to get you back up. It’s like detoxing your brain from negative thoughts. But if this process takes longer than a few hours, you might need help to move you out of negativity and into the state of flexibility (set vs. flexible mindset). Make sure that you have a list of people that can show you a different perspective and be open with your request.
  • Reflecting on your behaviour. Find an opposite argument to every point you are making. The world is round, and our emotional experiences are a dynamic process in itself. Remember, without experiencing negative emotions. You wouldn’t have the ability to experience positive ones. The contrast is what is needed. So, when you are stuck in negativity, try to contrast your thoughts and emotions.
  • Create time to stay connected with people you care about in your life and invest quality time into these relationships.
  • Offer sincere compliments. This allows you to focus on others but also build meaningful connections. And remember, emotions are contagious. So, if you make someone else feel good, you will also feel good.
  • Other activities that help cultivate positive emotions include practicing mindfulness and finding the silver lining in difficult situations. Reading funny and entertaining books and watching funny light comedy can also increase oxytocin and dopamine. Thus, two hormones play a significant role in how we feel. (Mnich.)




4.1       Creating your own happiness.



11 Simple Ways to Create Your Own Happiness


Happiness is and will always be the most cherished, yet most elusive, of all human desires. Day in and day out, many search for happiness, but end the day empty handed.


Happiness isn’t something that someone gives us, nor is it something that we have to have permission for. Happiness is a state of mind that is created from within. Here are 11 ways to ensure happiness is a part of your everyday life.


  1. State your achievements

“There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.” – Henry Ford


It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day life and never take the time to reflect on the things we have accomplished. Each of us has done plenty of awesome things in our lives.


So what if life isn’t perfect at this exact moment. It’s okay that it’s taking a tad bit longer with your fitness goals. Don’t worry that you haven’t reached the pinnacle of your career just yet.


The most important thing is that you are moving forward and you’re in a better position today than you were yesterday.


Start a journal listing accomplishments, milestones, and breakthroughs you’ve experienced. After writing this list, take a moment or two to reflect on all you’ve done.


  1. Include the little things you love into your day-to-day life

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault


I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “It’s the little things in life that matter.” The little things are the small and often underappreciated aspects of life that truly make us happy. Rather, it’s your favorite cup of Joe, your morning walk along the beach, attending your favorite yoga class, or wearing that outfit that makes you feel like a million bucks.


Schedule your life around the small details that bring you happiness.


  1. Do what you love

As Steve Jobs famously said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”


People who do what they love for a living tend to live a happier and more productive life, have higher self-esteem, and better health.


  1. Paint your perfect day

“To accomplish great things, we must first dream, then visualize, then plan…believe…act!” – Alfred A. Montapert


Everyone has the power to live each day exactly the way they want to. We all have the same 24 hours to work with. It’s up to you to decide how to fill up those minutes.


Ask yourself, are you wasting time watching reality TV, sleeping late, complaining about your job, and wishing for a better life? Or are you going after your goals and dreams, and doing whatever it takes to reach them?



Take these 3 steps to achieve your perfect day:


Realize you have the power to achieve anything you’ve ever wanted and no one else can do the work for you.

Figure out what your perfect day looks like.

You must believe 100% that your perfect day will become a reality.

  1. Put yourself above everything else

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in the world.” – Lucille Ball


It’s time you put yourself first and become selfish. While it’s admirable to help others, don’t forget to show yourself some love. Treat yourself to a massage. Take a weekend trip where you can disconnect from the noisy world you live in.


Block out your time and let no one cut in.


  1. Tell yourself today will be awesome

“Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”


Happiness comes from within. Happiness starts with reshaping your mindset to be positive and eliminating all negative thoughts.


Be positive and believe in yourself, no matter the obstacles that might stand in your way.


  1. Forget being perfect and accept yourself as is

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” – Leo Tolstoy


People often act confident and secure around others but deep down, they’re insecure.


Realize we live in an imperfect world and stop comparing yourself to others.


Once you learn to accept yourself for who you are, life becomes simpler and more peaceful.


  1. Surround yourself with the right company

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey


Your friends should bring out the best version of you and help you strive to new levels in life. Think of your company in terms of quality instead of quantity.


It’s more important to have a few quality friends who inspire you, than tons of friends who leave you in a negative state of mind.


  1. Stop worrying and keep it moving

“Stop worrying about what you have to lose and start focusing on what you have to gain.” – Author unknown


Life is full of what ifs and endless possibilities. Whatever is going to happen, is going to happen, whether you worry or not.


So, why waste time worrying when some things you have no control over?


If what you are worrying about isn’t within your means to be solved, then move on and don’t let it put a damper on your parade. Embrace the uncertainty that life brings us and get to enjoying life.


  1. Get out of your comfort zone and become bold

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy


We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” – Max Depree


Nothing worth having comes with a 100% guarantee of success, nor should it. Being willing to take risks is what life is all about.


Living in your comfort zone shrinks your world and gives you tunnel vision. Instead of thinking, “If only I had…,” take a leap of faith and maybe, just maybe, you’ll discover the life you always wanted.


  1. Have a feel-good song

“Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.”

Everyone needs a go-to song when they need to brighten up their day. It’s been proven that music can make us happy even on our worst of days. (Hayes 2014.)











Nostalgia Is a Shield Against Unhappiness

Happy memories have a uniquely protective power against a sad present.

Psychologists have defined nostalgia as a self-conscious, social emotion, bittersweet but predominantly positive. It develops out of happy memories mixed with a yearning for the past and the close relationships we had back then. Often, nostalgia involves sensory stimuli. For example, the smell of autumn leaves might provoke an intense longing for your childhood home. Neuroscientists have found that it is a complex cognitive phenomenon involving many parts of the brain, including some that are implicated in self-reflection, autobiographical memory, emotional regulation, and reward processing. How nostalgia works, the science to date finds more than enough evidence to conclude that it is good for us. Given its benefits, we could all gain from nurturing it consciously so we’re better prepared to counteract bad moods when they arise. (Brookes 2023.)










https://kingamnich.com/2021/06/24/how-to-use-your-emotions-to-your-advantage-and-as-your-superpower/#:~:text=Tools%20to%20cultivate%20positive%20emotions,bringing%20joy%20into%20your%20life. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/11-simple-ways-create-your-own-happiness.html






















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