Understanding Nostalgia and the Concept of the Inner Child

Written by: Zafra Aswar Ali

Photo by Freepik

Nostalgia is a term derived from the Greek words “nostos” (returning home) and “algos” (pain). Therefore, it is identified as an emotional pain to go back to a past situation that is full of innocence, joy, and simplicity, typically bringing in the connection of our inner child. It is a psychological perception that is present in every average adult, and puts forward the idea that there is a presence of youthful emotions and experiences that characterise the child in them that are crucial in moulding their behaviours and personalities as adults.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Nostalgia

In the past, nostalgia was viewed as a negative emotion and a mental disorder. On the contrary, in the present, it can positively impact our emotional well-being. Here are some notable benefits of nostalgia.

1. Improved mood – Recollecting pleasant memories of the past can improve our mood as well as help us overcome stressful times.

2. Reduced stress – Reminiscing on nostalgic memories releases dopamine and oxytocin that result in a sense of relaxation.

3. Self-reflection – Nostalgia can help us understand ourselves better as we walk down memory lane, reflecting on our childhood days and trying to comprehend the roots of our strengths and weaknesses to make wise choices as adults. Additionally, these nostalgic memories can increase our self-esteem and resilience to face challenges in the present and future confidently, and lead a balanced lifestyle.

4. Strengthened social bonds – Reliving nostalgic memories is typically associated with family members and friends who have played a major role in our relevant experiences. Therefore, recalling these memories strengthens the bond with your loved ones while preventing any feeling of isolation from arising.

Ways to Incorporate Nostalgia Into Our Daily Lives

1. Keep your memories saved and preserved

You can consider having a memory box and collect things that were significant  during your childhood such as toys. Apart from that, photographs that were clicked in the past also can be saved in albums or digitally. Spending time going through these things and recalling the pleasant memories can help embrace your inner child whenever you feel nostalgic.

2. Spend time watching childhood movies and TV shows and listening to music

Watching movies and TV shows that you used to watch when you were a child during your adulthood makes you feel nostalgic and takes you back to your carefree days. In addition, it arouses your positive memories and makes you feel joyful. You can also listen to the songs you used to listen to during your childhood and relive the moment.

3. Engage in childhood hobbies

Reconnect with activities you used to do when you were a child like drawing, playing board games, or any activity that brought you joy, and let your inner child bring comfort and happiness to your adult self.

4. Keep in touch with your childhood friends

Being connected with the friends you made during your childhood is another way to relive the good old times and let the positive nostalgic memories keep your inner child happy. This can be done by talking about days at school and sharing other stories of the past.

Conclusion

Nostalgia is more than just an emotional longing for the good old times and has a clear connection with embracing your inner child. Hence, nostalgia is a strong emotion that can help in emotional healing and reflecting on yourself. By integrating nostalgia into our lives in various ways, we can allow our past to determine our present and future selves.