The Power of Nostalgia

You might think that the more recent an event, the easier it would be to remember it. And you might think that things that happened to you a long time ago would be harder to recall, but the human brain and memory are actually more complex. There is what psychologists call a “reminiscence bump,” which is the tendency for older adults to more easily recall events from their adolescence and early adulthood. It turns out that in studies where people are asked to produce memories, a disproportionate amount tend to be from this time in their life.

There are many reasons for this: There are many “firsts” during that period of time, like a first graduation, job, and first experiences like falling in love and losing a loved one.  And, this is generally the period where people develop their sense of self, form their beliefs, and make important decisions that affect them for the rest of their lives. Because of this, it could be the case that the reminiscence bump can be used to help to keep you young.

In a landmark “Counterclockwise” study at Harvard University, a group of men in their 70s were taken to a retreat locale that was a sort of time machine back to 1959: The participants listened to Perry Como, watched Ed Sullivan, read magazines from the 50’s, and were not allowed to speak about anything that took place after 1959. If you’re a nostalgic person you may think this just seemed like a fun way to spend a week, but the point of the study was to measure the physical effects of the surroundings on the older participants.

Believe it or not, reliving aspects of the time when the participants were younger seemed to make them younger. There was measurable improvement in their physical strength, manual dexterity, memory, cognition, hearing, and vision. Outside observers even said the participants looked younger when shown before and after pictures. Talk about age just being a number! You could say it pays to be old fashioned.

Transitioning into retirement is no small task, but it can be a good time to reconnect with one’s self after a busy career, go back to one’s roots, and pursue what makes us happy – be that golf or watching reruns of Leave it to Beaver and listening to the Beatles. Here at Zinnia Wealth Management, we can help you create a comprehensive retirement plan that takes your unique retirement goals into account. Click here to schedule your no cost, no obligation financial review today.