Wednesday, November 10, 2021


compact cassette with unspooled tape

Remember that sepia-tinted class photo someone posted in your social media group? The flurry of comments, the almost-audible laughter, the warm fuzzy feeling, and the wistfulness that followed? You were indulging in a spot of nostalgia – that bittersweet feeling of pleasure mixed with sadness as you think of happy times in the past.

Nostalgia, literally meaning ‘ache for home’, was described in the 17th century and was considered an illness - a form of melancholy. While it’s true that we tend to indulge in nostalgia when we are unhappy, lonely or anxious; and during times of change and uncertainty; we also know that this yearning for the past is a universal human experience. Across cultures, we experience and indulge in nostalgia, and researchers now understand that it can serve many useful purposes.

  • It helps us overcome negative emotions. 
  • The positive emotions evoked by our nostalgic memories help us overcome feelings of sadness or anxiety we may be experiencing currently. 
  • It helps us connect to our past and unifies our sense of identity. 
  • We see our own journey through life - as we were, as we changed and adapted to circumstances, right through to who we are today. 
  • It connects us to others and strengthens social bonds. Even when we are alone, our memories include and involve others, making us feel connected to them. This helps to dispel loneliness, especially in these difficult pandemic times. 
  • Nostalgia is a good coping mechanism. The knowledge that we have overcome difficult situations in the past helps us cope with current situations; and gives us the perspective that the present, like the past, is temporary. 
  • Nostalgia encourages feelings of empathy with others, even when they may not concern our own personal memories. It may serve to build bonds across generations and connect us our roots. 

However, there is a flip side too. Our forays into nostalgia may cause us to dwell on negative aspects of our past - the times when we were lonely, cold, hungry or rejected. Nostalgia may worsen feelings of sadness if we are depressed or going through a difficult phase in life. 

Nostalgia can alienate, rather than connect. Idealizing a particular time can cause resentment among those whose experiences were sharply divergent. Not everyone has had a happy childhood, and no period in history has been free of pain, anguish or injustice. 

It is also sobering to realise that nostalgia is often fuelled by dissatisfaction with the present, be it in our personal lives or in the wider socio-political climate. We tend to revert to memories of a simple, uncomplicated childhood, or to an imagined golden era in history to escape the demands of the present and anxieties relating to the future. 

‘Monetizing’ nostalgia 

Nostalgia can be deliberately triggered; and an entire industry cashes in on this very human frailty. While most of it is harmless and enjoyable, we must guard against the tendency to idealize and romanticise the past excessively. Nor should we allow ourselves to be manipulated by canny politicians who promise us ‘the good ol’ days’, in a bid to detract attention from current realities. 
You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time
(Charles Kettering)


Monday, October 18, 2021


silhouette of man enjoying sunrise

What is happiness? 

Happiness is a state of subjective well-being which includes: 
  1. An affective component - A feeling of joy or pleasure
  2. A cognitive component - A sense of contentment and satisfaction of living a meaningful life
The Ancient Greeks knew them by the terms hedonia and eudaimonia respectively, and though distinct, the two strongly correlate in people who report being happy. Happiness is, therefore, not about jumping from one joy to another, but also a deeper sense of fulfilment. 
Each one of us is unique and is made happy by a different experience, yet some people tend to be happier than others even through hard times. Do happy people share some common traits? It does appear so. Those who report feeling happy are generally 
  1. Open to learning new things 
  2. Find joys in the small things in life. 
  3. Have healthy relationships. 
  4. Have fewer expectations and do not register small annoyances. 
  5. Tend to go with the flow. 
  6. Practice compassion, gratitude and patience. 
  7. Exercise self-care. 
Temperament, personality traits and even genetics may determine our ability to be happy, and external circumstances do play a part, but much is under our personal control. Being aware of small pleasures, maintaining strong and healthy relationships, immersing oneself in challenging activities and finding purpose in life beyond oneself are ways in which we can find and nurture happiness. 
According to Seligman, happiness results from people becoming aware of their own personal strengths, taking ownership of them and living as per these ‘signature strengths’. 

Why happiness is good for us

Happiness is the single-most desired outcome across cultures and a priority for people across the world. 
  • It makes for a higher quality of life
  • A positive affect tends to improve our problem-solving abilities
  • Improves physical health – better cardiovascular health and immune response
  • Increases longevity

Association of happiness and wealth 

Most of us tend to associate happiness with wealth, belongings, success and status. However, beyond a point that enables us to fulfil our basic needs (food, shelter, safety and security), money has little correlation with happiness. 
An increase in income is almost always associated with increasing needs and desires, leading to a situation known as the hedonic treadmill, with no resultant increase in happiness. Indeed, there is a theory that each of us have a ‘set point’ of happiness, and quickly adapt to good or bad circumstances, returning to our baseline levels of happiness! 
In conclusion is Immanuel Kant’s wonderful yet simple Rules for Happiness.

Monday, July 26, 2021


App Influencer Like Girl Popular Webcam Media

Popularity is neither fame nor greatness - William Hazlitt

Popularity is the quality of being well-liked, admired or supported by a number of people. But as we all know many popular people are not well-liked, and many well-liked people are not popular.

Psychologists therefore define two types of popularity which are related but distinct.
Sociometric popularity:
is how well-liked an individual is. This is strongly determined by who a person is – their personality and pro-social behaviours – empathy, kindness and helpful attitude towards others.
Perceived popularity:
is closer to the commonly understood concept of popularity and is dependent on what a person is – their looks, wealth, possessions. It is related to status within the social group.
Popularity also depends on the existing environment or social group one is currently a part of- a person can be popular among friends but not at work; at work among superiors but not among peers or subordinates.

Why do we crave popularity?

Social beings that we humans are, we need to belong. The desire to be part of a group, to be liked and to have status within it is innate. As children, these needs are mainly fulfilled by the family. In adolescence, we desire to be independent and free of parental control, so we seek belongingness in peer groups. Not all group members are equal, nor perceived equally. There is a hierarchy of interpersonal attraction, determined partly by personality traits (who we are) and a great deal by what we are (good-looking, highly visible, outspoken, having the latest gadgets, good in sports) which in turn determines popularity. Ironically, traits like aggression and dominance often increases status and perceived popularity within a peer group.

Adult outcomes 

Sociometric popularity or ‘likability’ often translates to better outcomes in adult life. Their ability to make a person feel valued and included makes for better relationships and makes them good team leaders at work. Those rated high on perceived popularity or ‘status’ are often not liked even as adults and may have a history of poor relationships, anxiety, addictions and aggression. 

To be part of a group and to be popular within the group is advantageous. There is acceptance, companionship, security and approval, which in turn increases our own sense of self-worth. However, there is a price to be paid for popularity. 
  • Popularity brings with it the pressure to conform: to always like, behave and believe in the same things as others in the group. 
  • Popularity requires pleasing others: when you fail to please you risk becoming unpopular.
  • Popularity breeds insincerity: you may have to pretend to be what you are not.
  • Popularity is precarious: there is always a chance that you may offend someone.
  • Popularity is competitive and is likely to invite jealousy, envy and ill-will.

In today’s world, pursuing status has become a normal activity determined by the number of likes, retweets and followers on social media platforms. This encourages people to voice opinions which gets them more likes or retweets, not what they believe in. Status or popularity becomes more important than friendships, and even more important than integrity and honesty.  

It is better to be true to yourself, to feel confident and secure enough to be able to express your own individuality and have your own opinions rather than aim to be popular. 

It is also good to remember that popularity is not about friendship. Popularity is more about rank and social status. Friendships are about caring, respecting and valuing others. It is better to be content with a few close friends,  companions you can have fun with and to develop the capacity to enjoy your own company.

  1. Speaking of Psychology: Why popularity matters (
  2. Adolescence and the pursuit of popularity. | Psychology Today
  3. The Dark Side Of Adolescent Popularity -- ScienceDaily