Why Is It Always the Good Old Days?
Remember the good old days? Life was simpler and safer back then. Today, there are wars, terrorism, extreme weather and life in general is just way too complicated. You probably heard that recently but it could just have easily been said 15 years ago and it's entirely possible you or someone else you know would be saying that about the current times 10 years or 30 years later. Discover Why people are more likely to recall happy memories.
Why is It Always Good Old Days? - as part of the news and politics series by GeoBeats.
Remember the good old days? Life was simpler and safer back then. Today, there are wars, terrorism, extreme weather and life in general is just way too complicated. You probably heard that recently but it could just have easily been said 15 years ago and it's entirely possible you or someone else you know would be saying that about the current times 10 years or 30 years later.
Steven Pinker, a best-selling author, suggests that inspite of current conflicts, this is the most peaceful time in this history of human civilization.
Your income may be significantly more today and you may be living in a larger home but still we all can't help reminisce about the good old days.
Well, you can blame your brain for that. It has good intentions though - this is your brain's way to make you feel good at the present moment even if it's at the expense of surfacing only the positive memories or even altering them.
Dr. David Holmes notes in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that research has shown a greater propensity for people to recall happier experiences than the not so happy ones.
Dr. Loretta Breuning in a Psychology Today article explains that our brain takes for granted what we already have and pays attention instead to what's missing. What you don't have today has a sense of urgency whereas the past is more abstract. For instance, if you spend a lot of time in traffic today, you may recall the good old days when traffic wasn't that bad, even if your commute actually took longer in the past.
Many people have fascination with the historic times such as the medieval era. Some may tell you that they'd have loved to live in those times. But few would follow through if they considered the everyday facets of medieval life - just the open street sewers would be disturbing enough for most people to run back to present times.
When we are thinking about our past events, research suggests just successfully recalling an event may evoke a good feeling regardless of that event being positive or negative.
Some experts go even further. Dr. Karim Nader, a neuroscientist, notes in the Smithsonian that it may not be possible to revisit a memory without it being changed in some way.
But regardless of the theories, if thinking about the good old days makes us feel better, let's keep doing it. By the way, want to know the quickest way to relive an old memory?
It's through smell - your brain processes that faster than any other sense.