10 Things…To Do When You’re Feeling Nostalgic

Next time you’re feeling nostalgic, embrace the past with one of these 10 things. 

Nostalgia may be the closest thing to time travel. Our favorite memories brewed into one emotion — a direct link to the past. Experiencing this state of mind puts me completely at ease. Nostalgia feels like home. When it hits, I never want the feeling to fade. Sometimes it’s bittersweet, longing to be back at a certain place in time that was so good, and ultimately satisfying.

Music is normally the trigger for me. I have a handful of songs that I identify with certain times in my life and, whenever one of those tunes comes on, I can’t help but smile as everything comes into focus. Maybe it’s music for you, too. Or a smell, or a movie, or a certain environment. Next time you’re feeling nostalgic, or want to find a way to get there, here’s 10 things you can do.


Look At Old Photographs – I could look through old photographs for hours. I have a couple boxes full, placed about my room, where I’ve stored all of my old polaroids and film photos that I started taking in college, and on through the present. I love opening one up, grabbing a handful of photos, and studying each one closely. Memories flood in, one after the next. If you don’t have physical photos to dig through, scrolling back through your Instagram feed or photos on Facebook can help bring about those same nostalgic feelings.

Read A Book – When pondering on the past, relaxing is a good way to allow warm thoughts to linger. Try finding a naturally lit spot in the house and grab a good book to read. One with a story line you can directly relate to would be the best to get lost in.

Sip Some Coffee or Tea –  Before you get lost in that book, make yourself a cup of coffee or tea. Certain aromas can remind us of the past, like the smell of coffee beans or different herbs. I always find myself feeling a bit introspective upon first sip.

Listen To Music – Music has the ability to instantly take us back to a certain place and time. For me, I have so many songs that spark nostalgic feelings that I thought it best to create one giant playlist. It’s one of my favorite playlists, and I mostly listen to it when I’m driving alone in my car. Each song on the playlist summarizes a moment — some specific, others more general. The next time you’re feeling nostalgic, try gathering all of your favorite songs that evoke special memories and putting them into one place.

Watch The Sunset – Of the past few trips I’ve taken, the most memorable of nights have been the ones that start with watching the sun set. Time seems to stand still for a moment as we wait for this big ball of light to slowly transcend out of view, turning the sky a vivid palette of colors. I may have seen the best sunsets while traveling, but the ones I catch here in Philly while sitting on my roof are often just as good. As I watch, I think back to all of the places I’ve visited and remind myself of experiences and memories gained.


Call A Friend – Staying in touch with friends is one of the best ways to reminisce on the past. Catching up and remembering good times with one another is a fun route to play out your friendship history.

Read An Old Entry In A Journal/Diary – It might make you laugh, cry, or cringe, but reading back through old journals will blast you to the past. If you have access to the pages you poured your heart out on, circa middle school and high school days, it will give you a good glimpse of your teenage self.

Take A Long Drive – Put on that nostalgic playlist you made, take a long drive, and get lost in memories. I like to call it driving therapy.

Meditate – Getting into a completely zen and still state can allow your mind to open up, and forgotten memories of the past can rush in and say hello. Try lighting some incense or a favorite candle to help get you there.

Go Through Your Junk Drawer – There’s always that one drawer that ends up being the catch-all for random things you don’t really feel like dealing with. My roommates and I have one in our kitchen, and I ended up having a lot of fun going through recently. I found one of my old rings I purchased on a trip to New Mexico, photos from a party last summer, $20 in an envelope addressed from my mom, and the collection of thank-you notes each one of our house guests had left while passing through. You never know what you might find that’ll stir up old memories.


+What do you like to do when you’re feeling nostalgic? Let us know in the comments below! 

Follow Jana on Instagram and Twitter.

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6 years ago

I definitely prefer listening to music when feeling nostalgic, or mostly music triggers this feeling in me. Or when I visit places I’ve been before I sometimes think back to old times.

6 years ago

this is such a good & thoughtful list! thanks for sharing
xx http://www.nuunablog.com

6 years ago

I like to watch a good movie. like a really good disney movie or even like a nice indie movie. I love Wes Anderson.

Megan B
6 years ago

I like listening to music, flipping through photographs and most recently, watching movies that bring back good ole times.

6 years ago

Listening to classic rock and other vintage music does the trick for me! For some reason music is the most visceral way that I connect with my past.

The Weaver Of Words…..give me 15 words and I’ll tell you a tale

6 years ago

Listening to Vinyl is the ultimate way to feel nostalgic

Gail Lloyd
6 years ago

Loved your ideas, as I love to reminisce. Scents trigger memories for me, along with songs. The smell of a child’s baby doll, the scent of a hand or body cream, certain food smells, or when I get a whiff of someone’s cologne it can take me back to my childhood, watching my mom getting ready to go out with my dad and spraying on her favorite cologne. I love drifting back to my past.

5 years ago

Hmm.. music? *hears the mario theme song*

5 years ago

Great list, but the thing is, I also regret not taking enough photographs.

1 year ago

Wow! Actually I was reading this while being nostalgic and its just wonderful. It just gives me a satisfaction that I can’t describe.