Picture this: You’re sitting in your car at a stoplight mindlessly staring off into the distance when a memory from your childhood pops into your mind. Initially, thinking about the memory makes you feel happy, but then you start feeling a pang of sadness for that time long gone. If you’ve experienced that feeling of happiness tinged with sadness, you’ve experienced nostalgia.
My guest today is a psychologist who has spent his career researching this oft-overlooked emotion. His name Clay Routledge and he’s a professor of psychology at North Dakota State University, and author of Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource. Today on the show, Clay takes us deep into the psychology of nostalgia. We begin by discussing what exactly nostalgia is, what it feels like, and what induces nostalgic feelings. Clay then delves into the benefits of nostalgia, such as alleviating depression and loneliness and providing meaning in your life. We then get into the downsides of nostalgia and how to avoid them. We end our conversation discussing why we feel nostalgic for time periods we didn’t even experience ourselves and the possible benefits of that type of nostalgia.
After this show, you’ll be wanting to bust out old photo albums to take a trip down memory lane.
- What is nostalgia? How is it different from your run-of-the-mill memories?
- The Greek origin of the word and concept
- Why nostalgia used to be viewed as a sickness
- The common themes of nostalgic memories
- What’s going on when we have nostalgia for a time and place we didn’t live in?
- How nostalgia connects us to history and our family’s past
- The points of our life where we feel more or less nostalgic in general
- Why do humans experience nostalgia?
- Is nostalgia just a balm? Or can it actually spur people into action?
- How nostalgia mobilizes
- What is self-continuity? What role does nostalgia play in that?
- How nostalgia can help us find our meaning in life
- The downsides of nostalgia
- Triggers that induce nostalgia (including awesome 90s bands)
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- In Defense of Nostalgia
- Cultivating a Nostalgic Love for History
- Why Every Man Should Do His Genealogy
- How to Do Your Genealogy
- Podcast: How to Find Your Purpose
Nostalgia was a fascinating overview of this oft overlooked emotion. I’ve actually been looking for ways to inject a bit more nostalgia in my life after reading it.
Connect With Clay
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Last updated: November 16, 2017