Study finds nostalgia is making people happy during coronavirus lockdown

It's bringing us comfort and reassurance during these uncertain times

woman looking through old photos

Found yourself looking back through old photos in lockdown? There could be an explanation.

A new study has shed light on something that is helping people stay happy during the pandemic.

Research, carried out by independent media agency the7Stars, has found that nostalgia is playing a key role in cheering people up in lockdown.

The survey of 2,000 Brits found that nostalgia is being used to create feelings of happiness (44 per cent), comfort (41 per cent), gratitude (32 per cent) and relaxation (31 per cent) – which all help promote better mental health and wellbeing.

The research was off the back of a separate study carried out by the agency last year, also focussing on nostalgia. After comparing the two studies, the agency found that the areas in which we find nostalgia has increased during lockdown, compared to last year.

Helen Rose, head of insight and analytics at the7Stars, said, ‘When we carried out our research last year, we found that music was a key nostalgia trigger for Brits, with one in five recalling an artist or band when looking back at a decade.

‘In this wave of research, we’re seeing a much wider variety of cues making Britain nostalgic, and it includes a mixture of both practical and passive activities.’

woman and child looking through old pictures

Baking, listening to music, watching old TV shows and looking through old photos make the nation feel nostalgic (Credit: Getty)

In terms of actual things making the nation feel nostalgic, baking came top of the list with 43 per cent saying it made them feel good. This was followed by listening to old music at 41 per cent, watching old TV shows at 37 per cent and looking at old photos at 33 per cent.

Psychiatrist Neel Burton backs this notion of nostalgia bringing us comfort and reassurance during uncertain times in a piece he wrote for Psychology Today.

He said, ‘Nostalgia can lend us much-needed context, perspective, and direction, reminding and reassuring us that our life (and that of others) is not as banal as it may seem, that it is rooted in a narrative, and that there have been, and will once again be, meaningful moments and experiences.

‘No surprise, then, that nostalgia is more pronounced in uncertain times and times of transition or change.’

Lizzie Thomson
Freelance writer

With a BA hons in English from the University of Liverpool Lizzie has over 7 years' experience writing all things lifestyle for national titles such as Evening Standard, Woman and Home and the Metro.