The Future. Nostalgia has seeped into everything from pop culture to politics. While critics rightly point to the dark side of nostalgia, a trove of new research has found that nostalgia also has the power to progress society and foster wellbeing. As word spreads, don’t be surprised if more organizations put extra emphasis on traditions as a way to build community.
Feeling the good ole times
Nostalgia may be the key to a better future, writes Clay Routledge, the director of the Human Flourishing Lab at the Archbridge Institute.
- Helps people cope with negative feelings by reminding them that things haven’t always been bad.
- Fights loneliness by inspiring people to attain their social goals and find connectedness again (the lonelier someone is, the more nostalgic they may be).
- Gives more meaning to goals and jobs, lowering the likelihood of quitting.
- Creates more “openness” to new experiences, ideas, and modes of thinking.
Pew found that 58% of Americans thought life was better 50 years ago than it is today, which should set off alarm bells for how negatively people view modern life. Instead of being debilitating, a dose of societal nostalgia could be behind a blueprint for a better future.