Thinking about the past makes us feel happier during lockdown, according to experts

·2 min read
Now's the time to be nostalgic. (Getty Images)
Now's the time to be nostalgic. (Getty Images)

Being in the moment is something we’re told is key to our happiness.

Every expert in mindfulness will tell you the key to improving your mental health involves being present, and yet, that advice might not be valid during the coronavirus lockdown.

With looking to the future evoking a sense of uncertainty and the present causing feelings of stress, experts suggest that looking at the past might be the key to contentment amid COVID-19.

The feeling of nostalgia can provide us with that warm and fuzzy feeling many of us are desperately craving right now.

Read more: How to drink mindfully during lockdown

According to the7stars, nostalgia plays a key role in our ability to cope during the lockdown.

The study of 2,000 British people discovered that looking back at the past - whether that’s by looking at old photos or playing music from our teenage years - left us feeling good.

Happiness, comfort, gratitude and relaxation were all mentioned as emotional states that a good old trip down memory lane evoked.

The researchers carried out a similar study on nostalgia last year and found that our parameters of where these nostalgic memories come from have widened while we’re in lockdown.

“When we carried out our research last year, we found that music was a key nostalgia trigger for Brits, with one in five recalling an artist or band when looking back at a decade,” explained Helen Rose, head of insight and analytics.

“In this wave of research, we’re seeing a much wider variety of cues making Britain nostalgic, and it includes a mixture of both practical and passive activities.”

Read more: Women finding coronavirus lockdown harder than men

Now, things like baking and listening to old music were second to other nostalgia triggers like watching old TV shows or rummaging through old photos.

It seems the feeling of nostalgia is all we need to gain a sense of escapism in the unpredictable times we’re going through at the moment.

Most importantly, according to research, is that we feel a sense of grounding towards the past, since everything else feels in a state of flux at the moment.

In fact, nostalgia is such a powerful emotion that in 2012, one study found that it can make you feel physically warmer when it’s cold outside.

We’ll be blaring out Take That next time the temperature drops.

There’s just one negative to consider before spending the afternoon trawling through old Facebook photos, and that’s how you view the past.

For some, digging up the past can be a happy occasion. For others, it brings up feelings we’d rather forget.

Weighing that up before making the decision open that photo album might be a healthy place to start.