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Ghosts of Good Times Past – The Value of Re-Living Happy Memories

In a new YouTube video titled Mindfulness isn’t the only powerful mental state, Dr. Clay Routledge says, “Nostalgia comforts us…it motivates and mobilizes us to improve our lives, and to pursue goals that are meaningful to us.” He talks about how, during big changes in our lives, we like to revisit our childhood interests as a way to reassert who we are at the core. And at a time where everything seems to be big and dramatic and changing, we’re seeing nostalgia make a major comeback – just take a look at what teens are wearing!

We can use nostalgia as a powerful tool to remember what’s important and help us figure out what goals we want to attend to – and nostalgia isn’t just for adults! The social memories we have as a family can be used to that same end, even with little ones! Here are my favorite ways to re-live the happy memories that make life meaningful:

Look at old family photos. Pull out the baby books and the albums from when your kids were small. You might be surprised by what they remember, and it might bring up an old tradition that you hadn’t thought about in years. Maybe it’s time to bring back that special visit to your favorite bakery on Saturday mornings? Or, perhaps you used to love going to the park as a family but you moved and haven’t found one nearby – why not take a field trip and find one in your new neighborhood?

Scroll your photo roll. This is a similar idea, except it looks at more recent good memories. When was the last time you went back and looked at all the photos you took last month? Or the hilarious video of your kid covered in fingerpaint? You probably smiled in the moment, and maybe if you posted it on Instagram, but take the time to look at the month as a whole. How great has it been? Even the roughest months usually having some shining moments.

Ask “do you remember when..?” This is so fun to do with kids, because they remember the most interesting things. I also like to do this with older members of my family, because they often carry a different perspective on the event. Remembering good times together strengthens the family bond and reminds us why we love each other!

What are your favorite ways to use nostalgia to benefit your family? Share them with us!

Originally posted on on October 10th, 2022

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