Difference Between Nostalgia and Melancholy

Nostalgia and melancholy are general terms, of daily use in Psychology , but that are also used in any conversation; be it between acquaintances, friends, family … For this reason, it is important to know what the difference is between one concept and another so that there are no confusion.

NOSTALGIA  Difference Between Nostalgia and Melancholy

Nostalgia is a desire or longing to go back to the past or to repeat that time that has already been lived in a previous time. It is the desire to recover time that has already been lost and is often characterized by a desire to return to the land of origin, home, to reunite with family, to return to the arms of a love or to meet old friends.

It has to do with the thoughts and memories of the past. It is very common in the elderly. When a person feels nostalgic, he has memories that stir his feelings and that transport him to his previous life.

A great interest is reflected in memories, photography or any other type of objects that have a special meaning for the individual. Nostalgic memories are always related to specific places, moments or people, which arouse strong emotions for them.


On the other hand, melancholy refers to an emotional state characterized by sadness; in case this sadness is very prolonged, then it gives way to depression .

A melancholic person feels sad or unhappy about something. It is basically a mood disorder in which the mood drops for a time. The melancholy in most cases, has a cause or is caused by something specific.

The melancholy lasts longer than sadness, but not as long-lasting as depression. A melancholic person always hopes that something better will happen in his life and when he sees that that does not come, he feels sad. Most of the time the person has a feeling of unwillingness.

If the melancholy is not treated in time it can lead to bigger problems.

Key differences between nostalgia and melancholy

  • Nostalgia is a good feeling (although it comes hand in hand with a bit of sadness) in which the individual begins to remember his past and wishes to re-experience the emotions of yesterday. Melancholy is the tendency to sadness and depression.
  • Melancholy is a state of mind, while nostalgia consists of having thoughts that involve a set of emotions associated with each memory.
  • Nostalgia focuses on good memories from the past, while melancholy has to do with sad thoughts from the present.

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