The Sentimentality Behind Keepsakes

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Nostalgia is the sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. We all experience it and it usually takes form in keepsakes from our past. Just like that old t-shirt that cannot be worn, the old figurines you collected as a child or even that trophy you won when you were seven from the spelling bee contest. It could even be a gift passed down to you from your grandparents. These simple treasures hold a very strong bond within us, and we try our hardest to cherish it forever. But it’s not only just about that particular item, but it is also the meaning or memory of that item that makes us hold on to them. So don’t worry, it’s all a part of being human. We all do it in some form. Some even more excessive than others.

So how do you know if you are really a sentimental person? For starters, there are a few key characteristics that may be able to determine if you actually are. These include, but are not limited to:

  1. The fact you like to hoard things. You may not even consider it hoarding, especially if you have memories attached to it. You may just think that you cannot possibly let go of the relic. It would be considered important, even if it is not practical anymore and now you’re left with a room full of stuff that you will not use.

  2. You have a lot of memories. Yes, we all do have memories from our past, but this one is a bit more extreme; you actually remember what you have for lunch on your first day of middle school or what you wore on your first day of high school. These memories would be so vivid that you would be able to write a novel on them.

  3. It can be hard to move on. The fact you have so many memories and feel that attachment to relics from your past it may be a bit difficult to move on and leave such relics behind. Because they hold a special place in your heart, and they make you feel in touch with your past, so throwing out or giving away your stuff would not be an option.

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In today’s society, being sentimental can be misinterpreted with being weak or soft because somewhere along the lines we have established that feelings make us weak. But that is not necessarily the case, just because we adapted to a busier schedule does not mean we have to be emotionless. In fact, there are a few benefits or advantages of being a sentimental person. Some research suggested that nostalgia can actually promote our psychological health.

A study showed that inducing nostalgia in a group of volunteers resulted in overall positive feelings within the group, including higher self-esteem and an increase in the feeling of being loved and protected by others. Other research has shown that nostalgia can counteract the effects of loneliness, by increasing perceptions of social support. In addition to that, in the same study, the researchers found that loneliness can also trigger nostalgia.