HEALTHY LIVING
12/05/2012 11:38 pm ET

Nostalgia Can Make Us Feel Physically Warmer: Study

There may be another way to keep cozy besides sweaters and blankets as the temperatures slink lower: Reminiscing on fond memories could also help to keep you warm, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the journal Emotion, shows that nostalgia can actually help us to feel warmer and boost our cold tolerance, researchers said.

"Our study has shown that nostalgia serves a homeostatic function, allowing the mental simulation of previously enjoyed states, including states of bodily comfort," study researcher Dr. Tim Wildschut, of the University of Southampton, said in a statement.

The study included several experiments conducted by Wildschut and colleagues from Tilburg University and Sun Yat-Sen University. One of them involved asking study participants to keep a record of times they felt nostalgia during a 30-day period. The researchers found a link between feelings of nostalgia and colder days.

In another experiment, study participants were put in either a cold room (68 degrees Fahrenheit, or 20 degrees Celsius), a comfortable room (75 degrees Fahrenheit, or 24 degrees Celsius) or a hot room (82 degrees Fahrenheit, or 28 degrees Celsius). While in these rooms, they were asked to rate their level of nostalgic feelings. Researchers found that those who were in the cold rooms felt higher levels of nostalgia than those in the hot or comfortable rooms.

And in yet another experiment, researchers had study participants recall either a nostalgic moment or an ordinary moment while being in a cold room. The people who were asked to recall the nostalgic moment were more likely to rate the room as a higher temperature than those who were just asked to recall an ordinary moment.

Nostalgia may not only make us feel good -- it could also make us feel more giving toward others, according to a past study in the Journal of Consumer Research. That study, showed that feelings of nostalgia can "increase self-esteem, boost perceptions of meaning in life, and foster a sense of social connectedness," the authors wrote in the study, which could therefore translate to a greater inclination to give.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

PHOTO GALLERY
HuffPost
BEFORE YOU GO
Healthy Ways To Warm Up This Winter
PHOTO GALLERY
Healthy Ways To Warm Up This Winter

CONVERSATIONS