A Flash from the Past


Isaiah Smith, Reporter

Remember when life was simple? You know, back in elementary days: go to school, come home to a snack ready on the counter, play video games for countless hours, watch tv with your family while eating microwaved mac’ n’ cheese and Dino Chicken Nuggets. If only I could go back and realize how good I had it, I would experience that lifestyle forever.

When you get those feelings of when you were young or sometime before in your life, that is what scientist would call nostalgia. This common occurrence can come in many different ways and forms. In a study published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience in 2016, researchers conducted MRI scans of brains feeling nostalgia, and found out that nostalgic memories depend on two things: “chronological remoteness” (being far in the past) and “emotional and personal significance.” When you get childhood memories of something that you’ve smelt, eaten, played, or felt, you’re reaching into your past and pulling out personal significant memories.

Nostalgia has been scientifically proven to be beneficial to your mental health. According to an article published by the New York Times, “Nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they’re sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer.” Feeling nostalgic helps you think of the good things that has happened to you, fueling yourself with energy to keep moving on and making more special moments and adventures in your life.

Personally, I have nostalgia quite frequently. For example, whenever I am really sweaty and hot and done with what I was doing outside, I go inside to feel the blasting A/C against my skin, bringing this cooling sensation to my body. At that moment, I think about Kansas Bible Camp where I go into the chapel with the same feeling.

If it’s something such as A/C or dinosaur chicken nuggets, nostalgia can occur with almost anything. It can leave you feeling joy, sadness, or comfort, but this is a healthy and normal occurrence. What do you feel nostalgic about?