I don’t know about you but I have been on TikTok and a lot of my for you page has been filled with nostalgic posts: songs we used to love, clothes from the 90’s and 00’s, toys and shows that I used to love, magazines from the early 2000s, like It’s been putting me in my feels.
Lately, I don’t know if its because I’m getting older, but I have been in such a nostalgic mood. I think it began about two years ago when I bought Disney plus because they had cartoons from when I was a kid like Ducktales, Pepper Ann, and many others. I felt like I was back home, rushing in from school and dropping my backpack on the floor to make it in time to watch cartoons before I got started on my homework. I can close my eyes and sometimes even smell the house from when I first run in, the scent of food cooking and the cooling feel of the air conditioner. On weekends, I’d watch infomercials, my favorite (yes I’m a weird dork) were any dealing with food like the GT Xpress 101s, FlavorWave, New Wave Oven and most folks favorite, Showtime Rotisserie oven (mostly during the time I didn’t have satellite in my bedroom). In fact, I’ve rediscovered those informercials (thanks YouTube) and sometimes I put it on if I’m in a nostalgic mood. I have began to wonder, however, if what I’m doing is normal? Is it healthy to watch this stuff and reminiscence over things? I had to take to the web to find out!
First of all, a quick look in some of the comment section of some of these informercials made me feel like I wasn’t alone in watching these infomercials again. Check out just a few of the ones I saw:
- “When I’m feeling life’s stressors I play these 90’s infomercials. It takes me back to skipping school and playing sick and day time tv before streaming was a thing…”
- “There was nothing like coming home after a night with friends and turning this on while eating that midnight snack”
- “My whole Saturday morning childhood in 30 mins”
According one site, “Therapeutically, rewatching shows and movies helps heal previous emotional wounds, tapping into good memories to reconcile sadness or pain during hard times. Some may also feel nostalgic while watching old shows, remembering their past memories and experiences.” I know personally for me, I want to return to the days when I didn’t have all these problems as an adult. I want to go back to the days of when I was a kid. Back when all the was wrong with me was typical middle school and high school things….along with my unresolved anxiety and depression.
Here is where the science of it all steps in. It was mentioned on a podcast from the American Psychological Association that “Nostalgia by motivating us to remember the past in our own life helps to unite us to that authentic self and remind us of who we have been and then compare that to who we feel we are today”. It also mentioned that it connects us to other people, hence why my for you page is filled with these types of posts and it does something to you when you can remember something and someone else in the country and all over the can experience similar emotions. It makes you feel like you’re not alone.
According to Psychology Today, nostalgia or positive memories activate reward pathways in the brain, they release chemicals that make us feel good. Because of this, we want to think about these memories again—to get that good, chemical feeling!
It’s a bittersweet feeling because it reminds us of simpler times, the good old days. However, it’s bitter because we can’t relive those moments. We can’t go back in time. It’s a reason why the past stays in the past. Does it personally make me sad? Yes! Especially when things are hectic for me. I just want to go back to time when I was a kid. Alan Hirsch, a psychiatrist in Chicago believes that “we attach an emotional state to an era, or a specific frame, and choose to idealize that specific time. We deduce that because we remember the feeling of happiness at a young age and our childhood must have been better than right now”.
It’s kind of like the idea of reboots. We all miss the shows or movies but when they come back, it doesn’t have the same effect it used to as before (hence why I’m totally against reboots but thats an argument for another day). The shows ended for a reason. It’s hard to recreate the magic of what the show was years later. It’s okay to remember them for what they were, I mean thats why we have DVDs and streaming services so that we can remember them.
So go ahead, listen to music from back in the day. Watch those shows or movies that brings you comfort. Embrace the nostalgia. It’s totally okay!
Want to do some more reading on nostalgia? Check out this article.
What blast from the past makes you feel nostalgic?