Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

By Josey Murray
Reviewed by Susan Ko, Ph.D.
December 01, 2023

Thinking about the good old days can be a form of self-care. A meta-analysis (a study of other studies) of 31 studies evaluated the effects of such memory lane activities as looking at a photo album on adults over age 60. The analysis revealed positive effects, including reduced depressive thoughts and improvements in life satisfaction, self-esteem, and happiness.

Why? Photo albums can lead us to recall memories and start conversations. They allow us to reevaluate those memories (even the negative ones) and make sense or meaning of them from our current perspective. These activities can also get us talking about the memories that can help us connect with others.

Although the research has been focused on older adults, researchers suggest that these types of activities could be beneficial for young people, as well.