Mind Matters – The power of nostalgia

If during the Queen’s Jubilee Bank Holiday Weekend, you found yourself focusing on a period of time in the past with longing and affection you will not have been alone.

Even if you didn’t celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee the bank holiday will have confronted you with a changed experience of your daily routines serving to bring into focus times in the past when the machinery of society was behaving differently.

It also probably meant that Monday morning brought a jolting feeling as your focus moved to both the demands of the present moment and the week ahead.

If you spent the weekend relaxing and enjoying the extended break, then I hope the positive effects stay with you for as long as possible. Maybe the break brought into focus how you have been feeling generally recently?

That might mean you have renewed energy for new projects, or you realised that you had been too busy for too long and it is time to end or reduce one or more commitments?

If the weekend was not enjoyable and relaxing, possibly experienced as a period of enforced limitation, then you may be feeling relieved to get back to the sense of normality? You might even be feeling less relaxed and energised than before the weekend?

A change in our external circumstances always confronts us with the concepts of choice and freedom. As you reflect on the weekend, I wonder to what degree you had a feeling of freedom and liberation or whether you felt somehow powerless in the face of the enforced break?

I suspect that where you were on the spectrum of feelings from freedom to powerlessness will have determined how the whole of the weekend was for you.

This in turn brings a focus on the importance of us choosing and being allowed to choose what we do with our time. When we can choose for ourselves then we can prepare ourselves and this means being able to think through what we want to happen and how.

We have time to think about consequences and reflect on previous experiences, in other words choosing something is much more likely to enable us to make the thing work than if it almost feels like a surprise.

Many people planned for months in advance how to use the bank holiday weekend whilst for many others it was something that just crept up on them.

However, you experienced the weekend what can be valuable is to reflect on what the change of routine brought up for you. What it told you about how you are living life, what works for you and what doesn’t, what has meaning and what doesn’t, what brings joy and sadness; ultimately what is important to you in how you choose to live your life and help you to nurture yourself in the moment.

Nostalgia is a feeling that alerts us to what matters for us and to pay attention to its message is to enable us to make choices that are right for us.

Nicholas Rose

UKCP accredited Psychotherapist

Psychotherapy, counselling, relationship therapy and coaching.

PGDip, MA, Adv Dip Ex Psych

Nicholas Rose & Associates
Counselling, psychotherapy and coaching for children, adults, couples and families.


Read more blogs by Nicholas Rose

Read the previous one – Mind Matters – Considering prejudice

See all Nicholas’s Mind Matters blogs here

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