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Why we all turned to nostalgia to get through 2020

31 December 2020

In a year of such jarring change, it is perhaps no surprise that many of us have longed to turn the clocks back – but is there more to nostalgia than just a desire to remember the good times?

It’s natural to lean on things that comfort us during periods of grief, anxiety and uncertainty. And for many, with 2020 becoming synonymous with those very emotions, nostalgia has been the ultimate tonic to remedy the difficulties of this year.

“Research has shown that nostalgia boosts key psychological resources that help us deal with challenging situations,” says Gary Christopher, senior lecturer and Ageing Well lead at the University of the West of England, in Bristol.

“When we feel threatened, be it due to illness or global events, falling back on familiar things and, in particular, memories that make us feel nostalgic can only be a good thing. There is also the fact that nostalgic memories involve other people – people we care about, and so, at a time like this, when social contact is restricted, by bringing to mind such memories, we can mentally re-live happier times with people we love.”

“Nostalgic memories also make people more optimistic and give them a greater sense that their life is meaningful.”

Elements of this article were originally published in The Guardian by Arusa Qureshi