DEAR ABBY: Have you any advice for handling nostalgia? While it can be pleasant, lately I have been getting very down when I think about my past. I'm sad that I can never relive those experiences, and I'm wondering what's wrong with my life now that makes me feel this way.
I'm 25 and have a lot of life ahead of me. Now that I think about it, I have always had the habit of thinking the past is better than the present. Then, a few years later, I end up missing that time in my life -- even though at the time, I didn't appreciate it.
How can I start enjoying and appreciating my present and treasure my past, but not let it hold me back? -- NOSTALGIC IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR NOSTALGIC: Try this: Each morning, before getting out of bed, take a few minutes to consider the things in your life that you are grateful for and that you enjoy. Picture them one at a time in your mind -- whether it's your parents, your friends, your health or perhaps a recent experience. If you do, this will put you in a positive frame of mind to begin your day.
If you find your thoughts sliding backward into negativity at any point after that, remind yourself to return to reality and stay in the moment or concentrate on something you have to look forward to. It may lift your spirits. However, if this doesn't help to improve your outlook, then it's time to consider talking to a licensed mental health professional about it.