Past Forward

How Nostalgia Can Help You Live a More Meaningful Life
Paperback Book
Paperback Book
Sounds True eReader (Immediate Access)
Backed by research that overturns the view of nostalgia as “living in the past,” Dr. Clay Routledge shares empowering insights and practices to help you mindfully invoke the full potential of your connection to a cherished past—for resilience, creative inspiration, healthy relationships, and essential support for creating a meaningful future.
Full Description
A leading psychological researcher shares compelling science and valuable practices for mindfully using nostalgia to live a more grounded, connected, and purposeful life.

When an old song makes you want to dance like you did in high school, or you long for the comforting taste of your mom’s cooking, that’s more than just memory—it’s nostalgia. But is nostalgia all about “living in the past” to hide from reality? In Past Forward, psychologist Clay Routledge presents a fascinating investigation into an emotion we all experience yet often misunderstand, revealing nostalgia’s extraordinary potential to enrich our present—and our future.

Dr. Routledge has been at the forefront of a new wave of research that has established a fresh, evidence-based view of nostalgia—not as a psychological weakness, but as a complex and valuable resource for our well-being. Here he presents a treasury of informed insights and science-based practices to help you turn nostalgia into a powerful ally, including:
  • Understanding nostalgia—what this feeling is and why it’s necessary for a healthy psyche
  • Enhancing your sense of self—how nostalgia can help you build confidence and self-esteem
  • Deepening connection—the possibilities and pitfalls of nostalgia as a foundation for personal and group relationships
  • Coping with stress—invoking the past to face present-day anxieties with clarity and resilience
  • Finding purpose—how nostalgic reflection can reveal your most enduring values
  • Moving into the future—excavating the past as a source for innovation, creativity, and hope
If we approach nostalgia with awareness and discernment, we can use our cherished memories to help look outside of ourselves, connect with others, and weave a meaningful life story that supports us through difficult times. As Dr. Routledge puts it, “By engaging in nostalgia, we are not moving toward the past. We are bringing the past forward to the present to help us build a more fulfilling future.”
Format Details
Paperback Book eBook
Contents Paperback Book (224 pages) eBook (224 pages)
Dimensions 6 x 9 inches
Product Code BK06313 BK06313W
ISBN Number 978-1-68364-864-2 978-1-68364-865-9
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Clay Routledge

About Clay Routledge

Clay Routledge, PhD, is a leading expert in existential psychology. His work has been featured by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the Atlantic, The New YorkerWiredForbes, and more. He is the vice president of research and director of the Human Flourishing Lab at the Archbridge Institute, and coeditor of Profectus. For more, visit

Author photo © Jenny Routledge