Take a Break

Why Revisiting the Past Is Good for You

Last updated:

August 31, 2011
Black and white photo album

At first, it might seem too painful to revisit the happy past when your loved one was in perfect health and today's stresses didn't yet exist. But psychologists believe nostalgia has psychological benefits, including higher self-esteem and an improved sense of being loved and protected by others, according to a 2008 report in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Revisiting the past also helps us link our past and present selves, adding a valuable sense of continuity and meaning to our lives. Try digging out dusty photo albums or those boxes of memorabilia from your children's younger days. Watch home movies. But try not to stress a loved one who has dementia by quizzing, "Do you remember this?!" This trip down memory lane is especially for you.

-- Paula Spencer Scott