THE BLOG
11/12/2014 04:10 pm ET Updated Jan 12, 2015

#TBT to My #FBF Our Generation's Obsession with Nostalgia

It's Thursday morning. As usual, I wake up and check my phone (I'm not even going to pretend I'm ashamed; who doesn't anymore?). I come across approximately 10 #TBT posts, two articles on what [insert child Disney star's name] looks like today, and an abundance of old profile pictures cropping up because fellow friends think it's funny to resurface them with a comment. And that's just my Facebook feed -- never mind the state of Twitter and Instagram.

It's no secret that millennials have a fascination with nostalgia. What with our "Transformation Tuesdays," "Throwback Thursdays," and "Flashback Fridays," we take any opportunity we get to reminisce. We resurface past Facebook photos and our old statuses referencing Kony 2012 and quoting Death Cab songs. We dust off the family photo books to find that picture with a perfect balance of cute and embarrassing. And of course, we jump at the hashtags that allow us to post Instagram photos from way back when. To put it simply, nostalgia is the next big thing.

Along with our favorite hashtags, there are plenty of other opportunities to reminisce: articles, apps, and other media. Facebook feeds everywhere are flooding with shares from Timehop, an app that connects to your social media accounts and shows you what you posted that day in the past years -- photos, statuses, what have you. We've encountered a stream of articles featuring celeb baby pictures, our favorite old TV shows, and "9 Things from the '90s You Totally Forgot About." I think it's safe to say it's a borderline obsession.

And it's not just on an individual level; there's a theme of nostalgia weaving its way through all media these days. Take Mad Men, for example, a hit show set in the 1960s. Or think Taylor Swift's 1989, a new pop album inspired by music of the '80s. Even some of the most popular books these days look into the past. To put it simply, the old is back in.

But here's the thing: I don't get it. I'll post the occasional #TBT photo if I'm lacking Insta content, but honestly, I don't want to be showing off my embarrassing patterned leggings and ugly bangs, circa 2002.

However, I do see the fun in it: There's something satisfying about hearing a song that brings you back to your carefree high school days, or smelling a scent that brings you back to your childhood home. I'll be damned if the scent of Trident original flavor gum doesn't remind me of my best friend from high school who was addicted to the stuff. I guess it's true -- we crave what's familiar.

But why all this nostalgia? No matter the cause, we're a generation that's nostalgic for a reason; research shows that these bittersweet feelings are actually good for us. According to the New York Times, "Nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they're sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer."

So hey, if you're feeling a little down post an old photo.