The power of looking back

The beauty and power of looking back

I’m a pretty sentimental person.

I absolutely love looking through our old photos, listening to music from when I was younger, and watching films and tv shows that I’ve seen multiple times before.

There’s a real comfort in those old familiar things.

And while I don’t want to spend my life looking back, there are some real benefits to indulging in a bit of nostalgia now and then.

The beauty and power of looking back


There was a study carried out by Constantine Sedikides that showed there are all sorts of positives to looking back and reminiscing.

Looking back at where we’ve been and what we’ve done in our lives can help to remind us of what we’ve achieved, and can give us a sense of worth when we might be feeling a bit down.  This then makes life feel more meaningful, helping us to feel more inspired about things, and more optimistic for the future.


So, in a way, looking back can be really powerful in helping us move forward.

As a parent life seems to move in phases and stages, and when you’re slap bang in the middle of one it can feel like life will always be the way it is right now.  At times like that it can be helpful to look back at photos of our children when they were babies.

Photos from those days of teething and nappies and sleepless nights can act as a reminder of how these phases really don’t last forever.  Things change and when we look back we realise how quickly it all actually happens.

Looking back to help us move forwards


Studies have also found that nostalgia can help beat feelings of loneliness, boredom and anxiety.

So looking at old photos from our childhood, or even family photos from a few summers ago, can give us a real emotional boost when we need one.

The power of looking back to help us move forwards


Reminiscing about the past has even been found to be a powerful tool to help people with dementia.

Talking through a person’s life history is known as reminiscence therapy, and it uses things like photos and objects from their past to help trigger memories.  This is something I love so much about photography.  Photos capture these moments and memories for us, some of which might otherwise be completely lost over the years.


You know that feeling when you look at a photo and it just takes you right back to that moment?

There are photos of me on the beach we went to every summer in France when I was growing up.  Just looking at them brings back such vivid memories.  The sound of the sea.  The feel of the stones underneath my beach towel.  The smell of ambre solaire sun cream.


It’s all there, safe in those photos.


And it’s why I keep on taking photos.

They tell my story.  And my family’s story.  They’re my tangible links back to the past.

So whenever I need an emotional boost.  Or if I feel stuck in life.

I can indulge in a beautiful bit of nostalgia.


Madeline Littlejohns Photography relaxed fun family photos Swansea documentaryMadeline Littlejohns is an on-location family photographer in central Swansea (Sketty, Brynmill, Uplands) offering relaxed, natural portraits and documentary family photography to record your family’s story.

If you’d like to have a chat about a fun family photo session in Swansea, please do get in touch to say hi and discuss booking a parenthood session.


Yazoo milkshake. Chocolate one. Tastes like the south of France to me!

See as soon as I read that I could taste it! Definitely a south of France thing! x

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