Last year we were very excited to offer the classic lighted Christmas Trees to paint for the holidays (Hint: You can still come in to paint one if you’d like). We wanted to offer them because they are so nostalgic. In fact, so many people who came in to paint them had wonderful family stories they were reminded of when they saw them. Customers told us, “Oh I remember one my grandmother had,” or “Oh my mother painted one of those years ago! Too bad it broke when she moved!” How wonderful to be reminded of these decorations you grew up with. It got me started thinking about the power of nostalgia and I decided to do a little research on it.
Here’s what I found:
It turns out that scientists and psychologists have been studying nostalgia a lot in recent years, and they now say it’s a very good thing for you and your health. In fact, the studies showed that people who became nostalgic about something felt less depressed and less lonely after reminiscing about their memories of friends, family and stories about holidays, weddings or other family oriented activities, according to an article in the NY Times.
Many people describe nostalgia as a feeling that made them feel good, and reminded them of their roots. Nostalgia has couples feel closer and happier, and life seem more meaningful. And studies showed that when people talk about the past wistfully, they usually feel more inspired and optimistic about the future. People are warmed by their memories, literally! The studies showed that people who were reminiscing in a cold room actually felt warmed by their nostalgic memories. They also reported feeling more loved and that life is worth living.
“Nostalgia serves a crucial existential function,” says Dr. Clay Routledge, a professor of psychology, “It brings to mind cherished experiences that assure us we are valued people who have meaningful lives. Some of our research shows that people who regularly engage in nostalgia are better at coping with concerns about death.”
Routledge authored a 2012 study in the psychology journal Memory, that showed that when people indulge in nostalgia, it helps them relate their past experiences to their present lives in order to make greater meaning of it all.
And given the great benefits of nostalgia, you will want to do it more often, and create new memories to be nostalgic about in the future. You can do that by keeping family traditions alive, making new traditions and creating new happy memories with your loved ones. We are thrilled to be a part of that for so many of our customers. In fact, this year, we’ve brought in another wonderfully nostalgic holiday item to paint. . . the old pickup truck hauling a lighted Christmas tree. It’s a beautiful piece to paint, display and then pass on as a nostalgic item to your own family! Come visit us today at The Bent Brush and create fantastic new memories to be nostalgic about.