The Rewards of Nostalgia

Nostalgia is a unique emotion. It’s also difficult to describe. For a long time it was considered a disorder, a symptom of depression even. Some wag even pointed out that nostalgia is an anagram of “lost again.” But we know it is really nothing of the sort. A recent New York Times interview with social-psychologist Dr. Constantine Sedikides really struck a chord with me. Over the past 14 years, he has set out not just to study the idea of nostalgia and what triggers it, but how it effects our emotions and behavior.

As the article goes on to say:

Nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they’re sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer.”


Nostalgia helps us feel connected. It gives our lives meaning – deeper roots. Even when the memory is bittersweet, we feel more human. Nostalgia is good for us.

Brands have long recognized the power of nostalgia. The way it makes us feel. Its strength as a driver of behavior. Drawing up feelings of nostalgia generates positive associations. Sensuality is often the trigger. If you think about what makes you wax nostalgic, it’s typically your senses. Music, in particular, is a powerful trigger. It transports us to another time and place. It reminds us of people, places, events. Good times, sad times. Moments that shaped us. Combined with a sense of mystery and intimacy, we have the ingredients for a Lovemark.

Now that we know just how good nostalgia is for us, it’s about seizing every opportunity we can to create a “nostalgia repository.”

Recent Posts

Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


Books on


Join us. Sign up for our blog.

Receive our regular updates in your in-box.