Nostalgia gives us hope and inspires us to look forward to the future – what initially may sound like a paradox – looking back to move forward – is incredibly important. If we move forward without reflection, we continue walking almost blindly into the next year, next phase, and next commitment. We leave the memories behind and forget the opportunity for learning, growth and a better understanding of who we are and what we need to heal, be well, and thrive. We wish you a healing 2023!
Reflecting on the year can also lead to celebrating and connecting with feelings of belonging – we identify the people and communities that we connect with, places where we thrive and activities that nurture our wellbeing.
Nostalgia provides meaning – when we reflect on past experiences and our responses, we also make meaning which can inform how we move forward steadily and softly, with new levels of self-awareness.
Nostalgia improves our sense of identity – having a good sense of identity is a key to good wellbeing, so reflecting on how we have experienced the year can also highlight aspects of our identity we know and maybe were not aware of. With the new perspective, we can look back and discover more about ourselves.
Reminiscence activities improve communication – this sounds basic, but it is not: sharing the story of our year with others helps us organise those experiences in a coherent story.
While we do so, we articulate the challenges and maybe even identify and name new strengths we have discovered during the challenges we have faced.
Reminiscence activities support our appreciation of our family history – knowing our roots or connecting with our ancestors, even through spiritual practices, can help us ground our current selves in the story of our tribe. I would only note that if we have experienced trauma, especially in our early years or if we happen to have complex attachment patterns, those practices can feel triggering. If that’s the case, it may be a signal for additional, safe, professional explorations too.
Reflecting on the past can reduce symptoms of depression, especially if we connect with past wins, victories or more subtle feelings like love, kindness, gratitude and awe.
As we approach the end of the year, many of us are reflecting on it and collecting learnings. So this month, we are exploring the benefits of reminiscence and nostalgia for our wellbeing.
I have recently attended an interesting presentation about narrative therapy which inspired me today to share a few helpful questions we can use in therapy, but also in coaching, to help clients develop alternative solutions and storylines. Here there are
It’s December. Here in the UK, we are at the brink of two difficult realities: the year of Pandemic and the first year of post-Brexit reality. For those of us who feel connected to those realities, this annual review is very hard. So today, as I myself go back to my inspirations, I am sharing them with you. I hope they will spark a moment of inspiration and connection.