The one thing you can do right now to feel more hopeful for the future

Taking a trip down memory lane might actually improve your mindset, according to a new study

Friends laughing together
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In unprecedented times we’ve all been realizing the importance of wellbeing and self-care days. Anything we can do to make ourselves feel more positive and improve our mental health is crucial—whether that’s finding the best meditation apps, the perfect workout schedule, or trying to get a better night's sleep. Even the smallest ritual or practice can have a big impact.

And now, a new study (opens in new tab) suggests that you should add recalling nostalgic events and memories to help you view life as more meaningful, and make you feel hopeful. 

The study relied on results from several experiments, one of which asked one group of participants to write about a nostalgic event, while the other group was asked to write about a future event. Everyone in both groups was then asked to complete a questionnaire that measured how meaningful they sensed their life to be.

Turns out people in the group writing about a past nostalgic event scored higher than those who wrote about a future event.

Polaroids of friends having fun

(Image credit: Getty Images)

However, they also found that nostalgia may not be effective for everyone, especially those who have a negative view of their past. Put simply, if events in your past have filled you with happiness and hope, remembering and reflecting on them will make you feel hopeful that you will have new experiences that will make you feel those emotions again.

So in uncertain times like the pandemic, it is comforting to remember times where you felt reassured.

Nostalgia may be a powerful tool to overcome moments of stress, feeling unfulfilled and uninspired, and boredom because it reminds you of times when you felt the opposite. Remembering a time when you felt fulfilled will give you a sense of hope—that despite how you feel now—you will find fulfillment again. Definitely worth a try...

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team and has recently earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ. She has a background in design, having studied Illustration at Plymouth University but has taken a leap into the world of journalism after always having a passion for writing. She currently writes pieces on beauty, trends, fashion, and entertainment for GoodTo and My Imperfect Life. She also tests and reviews beauty and skincare products and tries out the latest TikTok hacks for My Imperfect Life.


Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.