Nostalgia Makes Me Depressed: How to Deal with Nostalgic Depression

Nostalgia refers to a feeling of sadness that can occur at any time in human life. In turn, memories are the main trigger of this emotion. Since when thinking about the past concerning a situation that had been experienced, its extinction generates this nostalgia. However, sometimes, a grieving past can lead to depression. Therefore, your problems like “nostalgia make me depressed” appear.

But there is a slight difference between nostalgia and depression. We are not saying that when you feel nostalgic it doesn’t make you depressed. The two terms are somehow related to each other. And a memory from the past may appear in the form of depression suddenly. In this article, we will discuss in detail about this issue and how to deal with nostalgia when it makes you depressed.

What is Nostalgia?

Nostalgia is a feeling of grief, sadness, and melancholy caused by the remoteness of the homeland, the absence of loved ones or the loss of a good or possession, or simply of the past. Meaning of Nostalgia historically appears for the first time in a medical thesis by Johannes Hofer in 1688. He described it as a student’s illness who left his hometown to start his studies in Basel.

Indeed, the feeling of missing or longing (in a pessimistic way) for a particular experience, object, or person from the past defines nostalgia. Nostalgia can also occur for something that has not been experienced. For example, the desire or longing to experience certain situations, such as when viewing a film clip, a fantasy story or love story, or even a song that can take you back to a specific time. Also, triggering longed-for and invented images, creating a past that did not happen but does not necessarily represent a hallucination or delirium.

What are the differences between nostalgia, sadness, and depression?

In order to understand the differences, we will start by defining each concept and understanding where it comes from and how it manifests itself.


When you feel nostalgic, it is difficult to express. Personal nostalgia is a kind of feeling associated with sadness that can happen at any time in life. But it is associated with a memory of past life events. Something that has gone but perhaps was left unfinished left a wound or could not be resolved in a healthy and conscious way. It has to do with distance, absence, loss, loneliness, and longing.


Sadness is a state of mind, which is related to an event that triggers it. When these periods become continuous, the brain stops producing serotonin at a level that is considered normal or adequate. All this is due to our brain. Brain, in situations of stress, anxiety, fear, or anguish, can alter its production of neurotransmitters, directly affecting our behaviour and making evident a state that is not healthy.


Depression on the other hand is a bit different from having to feel nostalgic. Depression is considered a mood disorder. It is usually more profound and less easily controlled than sadness. So, its monitoring and subsequent treatment must be accompanied by a professional diagnosis. It is limited by an inability to reason about its causes and is closely associated with a period of self-absorption or abstraction from the immediate group. So, it can be said that nostalgia is a form of depression, but depression is not always nostalgia.

Feel Nostalgic and Depressed: Differences

Between the 3 concepts, we can identify different levels of tolerance to the negative feelings that each one can generate. We can even identify closeness to a more complex pathology and necessarily treatable by a professional.

Understanding the causes that generate each of the stages of nostalgia, sadness and depression is also a way of defining or identifying what it is that we are feeling or which of them we are going through. It can be said that depression, more than the two previous ones, can have a more radical effect on the daily routine or quality of life of an individual who suffers from it.

Now, depression is accompanied by changes in behaviour. This is evident when very prolonged periods of time, weeks, months, pass in which the patient does not carry out their activities as they normally would. Depression, however, can be chronic when it becomes recurrent without finding a solution or evolution towards the incorporation of a healthy life.

In this case, it is not only the psychological aspect that is affected. The physical part also begins to suffer the consequences. For example, the lowering of defences, the decrease or absolute loss of appetite, increasing negative feelings and all that this entails for the health of a human being.

It is not unusual to have gone through some of these stages at some point in your life. Even part of growing up is connected to these sensations. It sometimes may not have a logical explanation but rather respond to hormonal changes.

Being cyclical in their most basic physiological state, women often present symptoms that respond to one of the states described above. Now, suppose it is impossible to find a logical answer or at least a clear answer as to why one feels sadness or nostalgia. In that case, it is important to establish with a professional consultation. It is not really something more complex that one is going through.

It is important always to be aware of the manifestations of each emotion, its dynamics, and how a person expresses it. If their behaviour is affected or changes radically affecting their health, it causes negative feelings that the patient themselves cannot solve.

Why does nostalgia make me cry?

Nostalgic depression manifests itself through memories motivated by mental relationships. It is a universal and natural feeling among human beings and is common to all cultures. However, it can manifest itself in different ways and intensities in different people. Nostalgia is often felt at the remoteness or loss of a loved person or animal, a place, a situation, or a past time. Loneliness, in this sense, is one of the reasons for nostalgia.

Another important function of nostalgia is to reinforce links between our past and our present. That is, nostalgia can provide us with a positive view of the past. This may help us develop a greater sense of continuity and give our lives more meaning.

Researchers conjecture that nostalgia may also be of greater importance for the elderly, as they are more vulnerable to social isolation. Therefore, nostalgia may help them to overcome feelings of loneliness. There are no certain nostalgic depression symptoms. It can be anything in any form. Like other depressive symptoms, it can also show the same.

However, nostalgia sometimes makes you remember something you don’t want to remember. Therefore, when it becomes unbearable, and you feel like ‘nostalgia makes me sad,’ crying is then a quite common symptom.  

The feeling of nostalgia 

In psychology, it is considered that feeling or having nostalgia can have positive effects such as provoking the feeling of being loved. It is related to feelings of grief or sadness, or anguish, and depression. But in many cases, it is also perceived as a feeling of well-being at the memory of an experience, a place, or a person. This feeling somehow brings the person back to what he or she longs for. It can hamper your daily activities or many other moments of happiness.

Nostalgia and melancholia

Nostalgia and melancholy are two terms that are often used interchangeably. Sometimes melancholy is considered to be feeling nostalgic and sad in general. It does not necessarily have to be linked to a specific person, object, place, or taking past events. Sometimes, for example, people experience melancholy or feel melancholic without being able to express a specific reason for it. In contrast, when people talk about feeling nostalgia, there is a link to the past or the memory of something or someone who is far away or absent.

Nostalgia is the sadness and melancholy we experience when we are away from our bed, our family, and friends, in other words, when everything about the home is better, cheaper, and more fun.

It’s perfectly normal to feel nostalgia. It’s a natural feeling that anyone can have. It can be a reminder of the things that matter to us. It’s just not particularly fun, which is why we’ve compiled eight simple tricks to help you cope with nostalgia or even stop it bothering you at all.

Nostalgia makes me depressed: How to Deal.

When nostalgic feelings become depressive, you have to find a solution for how to stop feeling nostalgic. However, with our tips here in this article, you will overcome nostalgic depression quite easily. But if it is a kind of major depression, mental health professionals are there to help you. Mental health professionals can diagnose how chronic your depression is and provide medical advice for the mental health issue.

Celebrate 24 hours of nostalgia

Feeling nostalgia is a bit like self-pity after a break-up. Sometimes you need to mope and eat a lot of ice cream for a couple of days, but then you need to move on. How about celebrating a nostalgia day and get it all out of your system at once? Try eating food from home, listening to music from home, calling all your friends, etc. When 24 hours have passed, stop, and go sightseeing with that group of friends you met last week.


Our best advice for dealing with depression: create a routine. This can be anything from exercising regularly to having coffee and pastries every Sunday morning. Scheduling some activities and being consistent with that schedule will give you something to look forward to.


From an ecological validity perspective, it is very important. Almost as important as creating a routine is finding a “favourite” place, something familiar that helps you feel at home. Like a park bench or a coffee shop with cosy sofas. Before long, the baristas will know how you like your coffee, or you’ll start seeing the same people walking their dogs every day.


Boredom is a great catalyst for a passing moment of nostalgia. The more time you have to think about your past, the longer you’ll stick to depression. Make sure you stay active by joining a gym, volunteering, attending classes, or signing up for activities at your school. Getting out and about will also be a great way to make friends and immerse yourself in the local culture.


Keeping in touch has never been easier. We can text, talk, share personal data and even video chat for free. Photos and videos allow us to see what everyone is doing, where they are doing it, and when. Also, it can be hard to focus on things other than what’s nostalgic and depressive. But, ignoring social media can make us happy: after all, you’ve gone abroad to meet new things. It will improve your social psychology.


The more people you meet, the easier it is to distract yourself from negative social psychology and have things to do. This is generally easier when you’re at school or travelling in a group. Walking into a room with people you don’t know can be scary, but you never know what kind of friendships you might find outside your comfort zone (and in that room).


Taking lots of photos is great for exploring your new home, and the more you get to know your surroundings, the more at home you’ll feel. Plus, seeing the photos can help you appreciate your new surroundings and remind you why you chose the destination in the first place.


This isn’t the cheapest solution to combat nostalgia, but sometimes it can help to get your friends or family to come and visit you. You can show them around, and their enthusiasm for your new surroundings can be contagious and remind you how lucky you are to be spending time in (insert location).

How to get over a nostalgic mental health issue.

It is not easy, as it takes time for nostalgia to subside. Still, by implementing certain techniques, it will be possible to continually neutralise its impact or influence on daily life. 

Activities to keep the mind out of negative feelings

It can complicate things a bit to think about the past and feel nostalgia constantly. However, taking on certain activities such as work or recreational commitments clears the mind. Thus, it progressively diminishes the impact of the memory that produces nostalgia.

Physical exercise

Getting your body moving is a great alternative. However, you should try what type of training is really effective, as lifting weights or doing Pilates may not always allow you to concentrate on the activity. But in the long term, if you do it continuously, you will have a better mood by producing happiness hormones. Therefore, it counteracts the impact of nostalgia.

Positive thinking

It is very feasible to think of all the positive aspects of the current situation, in which the individual’s capacity to take on new challenges is raised. Where creativity and spiritual strength come to the fore, making the critical moment much more manageable. Never let any negative thoughts come into your mind.

Keeping certain possessions

Clearly, it will be something symbolic but representative. By doing this, you can turn anticipatory nostalgia into some happy moments. Especially if the sadness is about moving house or moving to another city. It will no longer be something to miss, as you managed to have a piece of that place. Therefore, you can move to that moment just by seeing it or touching it.


Obviously, the first option may be to stay in the room listening to music when feeling nostalgic. This, in some cases, even strengthens the feeling. But talking and listening to other people is quite positive to keep distracted and create new positive memories, reducing sadness.

Adopt a dog or cat

Adopting a dog or pet is considered great support as a mechanism to reduce anxiety. It may be reinforced with nostalgia, generating that effectively as an individual is able to develop in the different areas in which it develops. It is an ideal distractor, plus it will be a new beginning to create new happy memories.

On the other hand, it is essential to maintain constant contact with home if a trip produces nostalgia. Getting to know new places where you are and being constantly active will help you overcome nostalgia.

Final Thoughts

As we mentioned at the beginning, nostalgia in the 18th century was considered a serious mental illness. Society feared it, as its diagnosis could lead to the individual having to be confined in an asylum or in prison. But with the help of modern psychology and mental health professionals, it is nothing to be feared now. 

Whenever you feel ‘nostalgia makes me depressed,’ you can just take mental health support. Also, this article is written as a general overview of this mental issue. For major depression due to nostalgia, only the professionals can provide medical advice you need.

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