The power of nostalgia! Yes! Take a moment and listen to that song you discovered in your teens, or watch the movie that you saw on your first trip to the cinema. Do you feel it? That emotion! Is your mind already picturing it? That scene.
Aahh yes that is nostalgia!
The above example highlights a nostalgia moment triggered by a positive impulse but nostalgia can also be triggered by negative emotions. In both cases your emotions or memories go to a positive experience. In the instance of negative emotions, nostalgia send you to a memory of how it used to be better. You can imagine this can make nostalgia a very powerful tool for achieving various goals.
Studies have shown how nostalgia can be used as a persuasion tool. Just think on a politician who refers to the glory of the past and how it can once again be attained. Or on a different scale a musician who takes a melody from a past hit song and creates his own version or even just does a cover. Both cases call upon the fond memories of the past to get you to buy into what they are selling you. That said you can also use nostalgia to persuade yourself.
Nostalgia also works as a coping and comforting mechanism. For example when you think back on a friend or loved one you are missing at that moment. The thought triggers the warm and familiar feeling that person gives you and this makes you feel happier at the moment
Being able to trigger nostalgia in order for it benefit you is where the power truly lies.
And how can you go about this? By being aware of your nostalgia triggers and/or actively anchoring new emotions and actions. For example if some one dear to you used a specific powder or perfume, purchase it so that you can have the smell on hand when you would like to trigger the memory of them. Another way of triggering it is music, knowing and having your musical triggers on hand empowers you to evoke the needed feeling or memory.
Anchoring a new feeling can be done by for example inhaling a specific distinct smell at the moment you experience a feeling you might want to have triggered in the future. There are even products on the market that cater this form of anchoring. You can use taste in the same manner, chew a specific gum at certain moments and in the future chewing that gum triggers the memory. Music is one that is used all the time, just think on a couples wedding song/dance. Proactively registering these type of moments can you help you combat depression, loneliness and even self-doubt.
Heavy reliance on nostalgia can make you lose touch with the present and have negative view of the future. Think on the old person who only talks about how the past was better, how everything sucks and how the future is so bleak. As with every tool it is important to use it responsibly. Create anchor points that truly have value and use the triggers when you really need them. Remember the beauty of life is in living it!