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World Music Day: Nostalgic music not just evokes memories, but also boosts mental health


Music offers many mental health benefits, including stress reduction. On World Music Day, we tell you the benefits of nostalgic music for mental health.

There is a reason why those born in the 80s or 90s love to listen to songs from that era even today. Those are the songs they grew up listening to. And there is a deep feeling of nostalgia associated with it. Nostalgic music is the music that we connect with a moment in our lives. It triggers an emotionally charged journey through time, offering ways to relive key life experiences that may have shaped our sense of identity. It may remind us of graduations, celebrations or a special relationship. In retrospect, nostalgic music has mostly a happy effect on us. On World Music Day, let us tell you about the psychological and mental health benefits of nostalgic music.

What is nostalgic music?

Nostalgic music is a phrase used to describe songs or compositions that evoke sentimental feelings. nostalgia for the past. This happens when listening to music triggers an emotional memory of past events, encounters, or periods of life. Neurologically speaking, listening to nostalgic music stimulates the hippocampus, the striatum and the prefrontal cortex, areas of the brain connected to the retrieval of autobiographical memories and the processing of pleasure and reward, explains the psychotherapist and life coach. Dr. Chandni Tugnait.

Nostalgic music has mental health benefits. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the mental health benefits of nostalgic music?

Here are certain key psychological benefits of listening to old, golden music. music for health:

1. It can improve mood

Dopamine and other feel-good neurotransmitters can be released in response to nostalgic music, elevating mood and stimulating emotions. Negative thoughts They are counteracted by good emotions connected with happy memories.

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2. It can reduce stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety levels can be reduced with the relaxing familiarity of nostalgic music. Reconnecting with happier moments gives a feeling of stability and security, says the expert.

3. It can help you combat loneliness.

Music associated with one’s story often evokes memories of beloved social connections and associations. Loneliness It is reduced by this feeling of connection with one’s own past and sense of belonging.

4. It can increase self-esteem

Researchers found that listening to nostalgic music was positively associated with self-esteem, according to a 2021 study published in Psychology of Music diary. Nostalgic music evokes memories of important life experiences that shaped one’s identity. Reestablishing favorable past memories about oneself helps boost one’s own self-esteem.

5. It could help you control emotions

This type of music offers a way to explore and experience challenging emotions, such as fear, guilt or anger, but in a comfortable environment. This supports coping strategies and emotional control, says Dr. Tugnait.

6. It can help you reflect on life.

Nostalgic music stimulates life review, which in turn helps people extract meaning from their personal memories. This can strengthen the feeling of purpose in life, especially in times of change.

7. Improves brain health

Nostalgic music stimulates intense memory recovery. It works on memory, imagination and the brain’s ability to establish connections between different events in a person’s life, says the expert.

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How to take advantage of the benefits of nostalgic music?

Below are some practical ways to enjoy the positive effects of nostalgic music on mental health:

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  • Create your own playlists with songs that are deeply meaningful to you in terms of nostalgia and good vibes.
  • When you listen to old music again, take the time to really feel it, paying attention and getting lost in the moment. Carefully consider the feelings and memories that music brings to mind.
  • As you listen, write in your notebook about important events, life chapters, and autobiographical memories that nostalgic songs remind you of. This is a great way to combine nostalgic listening with expressive writing.
  • Play nostalgic music for the people who were part of your life in the era it represents. Reminiscing with others “back then” fosters a social connection that enhances benefits.
  • Express yourself creatively by painting, writing poetry, or even creating new music to channel the sentimental feelings that come from listening to old songs again.

The secret is to approach nostalgic music with attention and mindfulness so that you can truly connect with the good vibes, meaningful relationships, and personal narrative that those songs represent for you, the expert says.

Nostalgic music has a happy effect on people. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

Does listening to nostalgic music have side effects?

While nostalgic music has several mental health benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks or side effects to be aware of:

  • Some people may experience an overwhelming wave of nostalgic feelings brought on by music.
  • Getting lost in nostalgia can trigger unpleasant memories or make you feel depressed about how much has changed.
  • Those who are prone to rumination may have difficulty staying focused on the present and instead become perpetually caught up, reliving happy memories and events. This can exacerbate anxiety or sadness.
  • If a person listens to nostalgic music excessively, they may become socially disconnected from their relationships and current life.
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Nostalgic music can be healthy for you, as its benefits are related to elevating happy emotions and controlling negative emotions. But don’t make it a habit as it may have side effects.



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