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London - If you’ve drawn the curtains and turned up the heating but still feel a bit chilly, cosy up with some old photos.
Nostalgic thoughts literally give us a warm glow, a study has found. Not only do heart-warming memories make it easier for us to withstand cold temperatures, they also make us feel physically warmer.
It is thought the phenomenon can be explained by a cross-over in the brain, with a region involved in feelings also being key to how the body feels.
The finding comes from Southampton University researchers who carried out five experiments into the link between sentiment and perception of temperature. In one, volunteers who noted how nostalgic they felt each day for a month were found to have felt more sentimental on colder days, suggesting we somehow retrieve happy memories when physically cold.
Another experiment showed people felt physically warmer after listening to songs that evoked memories of childhood, the journal Emotion reports.
Researcher Dr Tim Wildschut said that while such thoughts may not actually make us physically warmer, they seem to make us feel warmer.
He said: “There is a lot of research which indicates that the physical state of the body doesn’t always correspond with how the body feels to us.
“That means we may feel warm subjectively, even although we are physically cold.” - Daily Mail