With the pop culture references to books and films of the 80s – from Stephen King to ET – the clothes, the hair (we’re looking at you Steve Harrington) and, of course, the music, how could you not feel nostalgic while watching Stranger Things.
And who doesn’t enjoy a bit of retro TV? It allows those of us of a certain age to relive rose-tinted recollections of our childhood – of riding around with friends on a Chopper bike, hanging out in the amusement arcade and playing Dungeons and Dragons.
Studies have even found that nostalgia can be good for our mental health and can have a range of benefits from calming anxiety to increasing empathy.
There are lots of techniques you can use to enjoy and safeguard your positive memories:
Make a memory box. This is a technique that’s sometimes used to help dementia sufferers because it helps them to reconnect with good memories. You can fill the box with photos, old greetings cards and even scented items, such as candles, to evoke powerful memories. Whenever you want to relive the memories, you just need to get the box out and rummage through it.
Create a photo collage. We’re all guilty of leaving our photos languishing on our phones, in an album or on a memory card, where we can’t really appreciate them. Spend an afternoon going through all of your old pictures – print them out and put your favourites in a frame – this makes a great gift for friends and family as well.
Start a memory diary. A memory diary is a great thing to pass on to children when they’re old enough, so that they can know who you really are. But writing one can be an enjoyable process in itself. You need to think about experiences in your life that you’re happy to share. This can be anything from your memories of your school days to recollections of family holidays. If starting your own is too intimidating, you can find ready-made memory journals with prompts to kick off your journey.
Have a retro film night. Pick few favourite films from your childhood and settle down to watch them with some old friends.
Sit down with an old friend. Get some old friends together and talk about your younger years – and write down your memories. They’ll remember details that you’ve forgotten.
Focus on an item or photo. Find a calm place and focus on the memories tied to a specific item (such as jewellery) or a photo of an event.
Relive a happy time. Thinking about a positive memory can help to improve your mood, particularly if you have depression. Spend some time thinking about a good time and how you felt then. Who was with you? What did you see and do? What were the smells? What did people say to you? It’s important to keep your thoughts positive though – if you find that your mind is lingering on negative memories or feelings then it’s time to stop.
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