This Magic Monday, we look at the difference between regret and nostalgia, differentiating between what holds us back and what propels us forward.
Last year, NPR released an article on the benefits of understanding the present by reflecting on the past through two emotions: regret and nostalgia.
According to psychologist Amy Summerville, regret is an emotion that’s easy to keep coming back to. She links this to the idea of rumination – vividly remembering an embarrassing moment, poor decision, difficult conversation, and so on, and going over it again and again in your mind.
Typically, there’s more to a story than just our own perspective. Summerville advises us to remember that, in these scenarios, it may not be all your fault. Recasting regret to learn from it instead of ruminating can be productive.
And then, there’s nostalgia. Just hearing it perhaps brings back fond memories of an old song, or a familiar sight, sound, or feeling that brings warmth. In his findings on nostalgia, psychologist Clay Routledge said, “There is a big element of nostalgia that isn’t about us retreating to the past, it’s about us pulling the past forward to the present, and using it to mobilize us, to energize us, to take on new challenges and opportunities.”
For example, if you feel your motivation flagging, recalling personal accomplishments or milestones can mobilize your energy and keep you focused on achieving current goals.
NPR created this site to generate “moments of delight” to boost happiness, including moments of nostalgia. Take a quick listen if you feel yourself needing a boost – or share it with a client or coworker who you know could benefit from the same. Let’s focus on the positive past to move forward with a successful future.