The Science of Nostalgia – Raven Oak

The Science of Nostalgia

When my husband and I last attended a Comic Con (back in 2012 in Dallas), I stumbled upon a DVD set of The Ray Bradbury Theater in its entirety, which I immediately purchased. I have fond memories as a child watching that show and later, memories of using an episode or three in my classroom when I still taught English classes. (We were reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, along with a few of his short stories from The Martian Chronicles.)

Bradbury-theater

Recognize any of those faces?

My post last week about Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, brought back a ton of memories, as did spotting that DVD on the shelf a moment ago. I stumbled upon an interesting article about the science of nostalgia, and the fact that it can cause physical and mental reactions in us.

A Swiss physician named Johannes Hofer invented the term back in the 17th century. He actually considered it to be a “cerebral disease” and felt it caused negative reactions such as: “anxiety, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, and disordered eating.” He felt that many of our ills could be blamed on our addiction to our past.

Recent research suggests just the opposite. People who have a sense of nostalgia are often in a “better mood” and feel “more optimistic about the future.” I tend to agree with the recent research. I was all set to talk about something else today when my eyes landed on that DVD. I think after a bit of writing, I may sneak off to the couch to watch an episode or three and continue my mood boost. 🙂

Do you agree with Hofer? Or are you falling on the side of positivity? What was your most recent dip into nostalgia-land?


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