I recently returned to Columbus Ohio where I had spent three years of my life post college. During these early twenty-something years, I can look back to some amazing memories, tough challenges, relationship building and self discovery. Columbus was where I started the beginning stages of my career, built a strong support system of close friends and met my husband. It was where I first experienced full independence and allowed myself to dream big and push through fear of failure and change.
As I drove through the city with my closest girlfriend Jaime, we found ourselves completely emerged in our memories of that exciting and terrifying time. Not only did we reflect on our memories, but we also shared new awareness of the present as it is connected to our past.
Research shows that reminiscing can be a very valuable tool towards healing and growth. John Kunz, founder of the International Institute of Reminiscence and Life Review states “each time an individual tells part of his/her life story, those who listen are like a mirror, reflecting and affirming their lives.” This experience of nostalgia does have its painful side, yet research continues to show that by reminiscing, life can seem more meaningful and death less freighting. It can counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety.
So the next time you find yourself with this opportunity of reminiscing remember that this experience strengthens relationships, creates more meaning in life, increases feelings of contentment and links our past to the present.