“I don’t miss an opportunity to build nostalgic-to-be memories,” he says. “We call this anticipatory nostalgia and have even started a line of relevant research.”
Another strategy is to draw on his “nostalgic repository” when he needs a psychological lift or some extra motivation. At such moments, he tries to focus on the memories and savor them without comparing them with anything else.
“Many other people,” he explains, “have defined nostalgia as comparing the past with the present and saying, implicitly, that the past was better — ‘Those were the days.’ But that may not be the best way for most people to nostalgize. The comparison will not benefit, say, the elderly in a nursing home who don’t see their future as bright. But if they focus on the past in an existential way — ‘What has my life meant?’ — then they can potentially benefit.”