Strong Dollar 10 Reasons Why It Matters To You

All things to all people, the U.S. dollar leaves its imprint in every corner of the global economy: It is the currency in which vital raw materials are bought and sold, and it is the safe haven to which investors turn in times of trouble. The greenback is now at a 20-year high against other world currencies.

Here are 10 reasons why you should be paying attention:

AMERICAN ABROAD – A strong dollar is great if you are a U.S. tourist. Hotels, meals or a designer bag all are cheaper by comparison, whether in London, the French Riviera or Cancun. It goes without saying that the reverse is true for the traveller going to the United States – unless they bought their Disneyland tickets or Las Vegas junket a good while ago, it is going to cost more.

THE JOYS OF PARITY – This is a welcome added boon for Americans travelling to one of the 19 countries that use the euro and a small consolation for European tourists in the United States. No more mental arithmetic is required to convert between dollars and euros – you can call it pretty much one for one now.

MADE IN AMERICA – For shoppers around the world in search of top U.S. brands, the strong dollar means they could end up paying a premium for them unless local distributors try to cushion the currency impact. Just in the past days, U.S. companies such as Mattel Inc – maker of the Barbie doll and Hot Wheels cars – said it was seeing a hit from the dollar’s move upwards, even if consumers as a whole looked ready to take on higher prices.

For consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble – maker of everyday products such as Pampers or Ariel – the dollar’s rise has always tended to have a similar impact on its sales. read more

EMERGING TROUBLE – For Argentines, the rise of the dollar against the peso has meant a doubling of local prices in just one year and a spiralling economic crisis. Governments and businesses in a lot of emerging economies finance themselves by issuing bonds in U.S. dollars. The amount they owe has now surged in value when measured in their local currency. Tapping the market for more credit has also become more expensive because U.S. rates have risen.

RAW MATERIALS – Countries like Turkey and Egypt that import a lot of their raw materials have been hit by a double whammy. Most commodities from oil to wheat are priced in U.S. dollars, meaning they are paying more in their local currency for every barrel or bushel they buy. This comes as the price of many of those materials is already at a multi-year high due to the war in Ukraine, extreme weather and the aftershock of the COVID pandemic.

HOME SUPPORT – A strong dollar is good news for people in poorer countries such as Mexico and Guatemala who depend on money sent by relatives who work in the United States. The COVID-19 fallout dealt a sharp blow to these remittances in 2020 but they’ve seen a steady recovery since.

INFLATION – Even for richer countries such as Germany a strong dollar can spell trouble because it helps fuel already record-high inflation through more expensive imports. Local central banks have generally responded by raising interest rates, which makes credit dearer and slows economic growth.

ROUBLE RALLY – The Russian rouble is the only currency in the world that is comfortably in the black against the dollar this year – an unexpected outcome for a country under international sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. But this strength – a somewhat artificial result of controls on foreign exchange – does little for the ordinary Russian. Moscow may be raking in tens of billions of dollars every month from its energy sales to the West, but Russian households still can’t withdraw their foreign-currency savings. And Many Western brands from Adidas to H&M and Ikea have stopped selling in Russia since the war started.

BITCOIN – Marketed as the ultimate shield against inflation, the world’s largest crypto currency hasn’t lived up to its promise and is down by more than half this year despite runaway consumer prices in large parts of the world. Legions of individual investors drawn to crypto during last year’s bull market have now ditched the digital tokens to park their savings in a U.S. currency they perceive as safer – and which is now starting to pay interest again.

BEEF UP – If the price of a hamburger is anything to go by, the dollar might actually be too strong and bound to fall back. The Economist’s Big Mac Index, which compares the price of the ubiquitous burger around the world, shows that the greenback is overvalued against all but a handful of currencies. The dollar is most expensive – and a Big Mac cheapest for a U.S. traveller – in Venezuela, Romania and Indonesia. The opposite is true in Switzerland, Norway and Uruguay.

By: by Alison Williams

Source: http://Reuters.com

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Why Chief Human Resources Officers Make Great CEOs

For decades the corporate HR department was seen as a back-office function, a cost center focused on mundane administrative tasks such as managing compensation and benefits plans. But over the past 15 years Ellie Filler has noticed a dramatic change. Filler, a senior client partner in the Swiss office of the executive recruiting firm Korn Ferry, specializes in placing chief human resources officers (CHROs) with global companies. For years many of the HR chiefs she recruited reported to the COO or the CFO and complained that they lacked real influence in the C-suite.

Today, she says, they often report directly to the CEO, serve as the CEO’s key adviser, and make frequent presentations to the board. And when companies search for new CHROs, many now focus on higher-level leadership abilities and strategy implementation skills. “This role is gaining importance like never before,” Filler says. “It’s moved away from a support or administrative function to become much more of a game changer and the person who enables the business strategy.”

To investigate the CHRO role within the C-suite, Filler worked with Dave Ulrich, a University of Michigan professor and a leading consultant on organization and talent issues. In looking at several sets of data, they found surprising evidence of the increasing responsibility and potential of CHROs.

First, in order to understand the importance of the CHRO relative to other C-suite positions, including CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, and CIO, Filler and Ulrich looked at salaries. To identify the best performers, they found the top decile of earners in each role. Then they averaged the annual base compensation of each group. No surprise: CEOs and COOs are the highest-paid executives. But CHROs are next, with an average base pay of $574,000—33% more than CMOs, the lowest earners on the list. “Great CHROs are very highly paid because they’re very hard to find,” Ulrich says.

The researchers also studied proprietary assessments administered by Korn Ferry to C-suite candidates over more than a decade. They examined scores on 14 aspects of leadership, grouped into three categories: leadership style, or how executives behave and want to be perceived in group settings; thinking style, or how they approach situations in private; and emotional competency, or how they deal with such things as ambiguity, pressure, and risk taking. The researchers then assessed the prevalence of these traits among the different types of executives and compared the results.

Their conclusion: Except for the COO (whose role and responsibilities often overlap with the CEO’s), the executive whose traits were most similar to those of the CEO was the CHRO. “This finding is very counterintuitive—nobody would have predicted it,” Ulrich says.

The discovery led Filler and Ulrich to a provocative prescription: More companies should consider CHROs when looking to fill the CEO position. In the modern economy, they say, attracting the right talent, creating the right organizational structure, and building the right culture are essential for driving strategy—and experience as a CHRO makes a leader more likely to succeed at those tasks.

The advice comes with some caveats. First, Filler and Ulrich studied only the best performers, so they’re pointing to a small subset of CHROs as having corner-office potential. They don’t see a path to the top job among people who have spent their careers in HR; instead, they are touting the prospects of executives who have had broad managerial experience (and P&L responsibility) that includes a developmental stint running the HR department. They emphasize that any CHRO who aspires to become a CEO must demonstrate capabilities in a host of skills required of top leaders.

“The challenge for CHROs is to…acquire sufficient technical and financial skills, in early education and in career steps along the way, if succession to CEO is a desired outcome,” they write in a white paper about their research. Indeed, some companies, including Zurich Insurance, Nestlé, Philip Morris, and Deutsche Bank, do put high-potential executives through a developmental rotation in a high-level HR job. (For one view on facilitating such developmental opportunities, see “It’s Time to Split HR,” by Ram Charan, HBR, July–August 2014.)

Filler and Ulrich highlight two examples of prominent CEOs who had developmental stints in HR earlier in their careers. Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, served as the carmaker’s vice president of HR for 18 months, and Anne Mulcahy, Xerox’s CEO from 2001 to 2009, ran that company’s HR operations for several years in the early 1990s. It’s no coincidence that both are women: According to the researchers’ data, 42% of high-performing CHROs are female—more than double the share in the CMO position, the next highest (16%). One implication: If more companies envisioned CHROs as potential CEOs, the number of female CEOs could dramatically increase.

In their white paper Ulrich and Filler also report on what CEOs and CHROs have to say about the changing nature of the top HR role. Several CEOs see the CHRO as C-suite consigliere. “It is almost impossible to achieve sustainable success without an outstanding CHRO,” says Thomas Ebeling, the CEO of the German media company ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG and a former CEO of Novartis. “[The CHRO] should be a key sparring partner for a CEO on topics like talent development, team composition, [and] managing culture.”

Peter Goerke, the London-based group director for HR at Prudential, agrees with Filler and Ulrich that although deep skills in marketing or finance might once have given CEO aspirants a significant competitive advantage, today a broader set of people-focused skills can be more useful. “Succession to a CEO role requires a balance of technical and people skills,” he says. “For all C-suite roles, and often at least one level down, there has been a gradual shift in requirements toward business acumen and ‘softer’ leadership skills. Technical skills are merely a starting point.”

In spite of the historic bias against the CHRO function, the rising status of HR leaders is not entirely surprising. Over the past 20 years Jim Collins and other management theorists have focused on talent strategy as the prime determinant of corporate success—an idea Collins popularized in phrases such as “Get the right people on the bus” and “First who, then what.”

In her work recruiting CHROs, Filler has seen a growing recognition that those aphorisms hold true. “If you don’t have the right people in the right places—the right talent strategy, the right team dynamics, the right culture—and if you don’t proactively manage how an organization works from a culture and a people perspective, you’re on a serious path to disaster,” she says. Conversely, a top-notch CHRO can help a company plot a more successful future.

Source: Why Chief Human Resources Officers Make Great CEOs

Critics: by MasterClass staff

A chief human resources officer (CHRO) is an executive-level position that oversees human resources management for a business or organization. The CHRO—sometimes referred to as the chief people officer (CPO) or executive vice president of human resources—directs the HR department and carries out HR policies. Some of the HR functions that CHROs oversee include talent acquisition and retention, performance management, and employee engagement. As the chief HR officer, a CHRO also helps to develop the workplace culture and supports business goals and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

As a leadership role, the CHRO job description includes overseeing the HR directors and HR team carrying out the company’s employee-based initiatives. The CHRO reports directly to members of the top C-suite executive team—often the chief executive officer (CEO) or chief operating officer (COO)—and works to align the HR strategy with the company’s strategic plan and business objectives.

A few of the responsibilities of a CHRO include:

  1. Benefits and labor relations management: A CHRO oversees the implementation of HR software to streamline healthcare and retirement programs, government compliance requirements, and employee relations. They explore partnerships to offer employees new benefits such as wellness programs or professional development opportunities.
  2. Guides company culture: This role in HR leadership includes helping to define and develop company culture for the workforce, executive leadership team, and other stakeholders. Maintaining employee engagement and productivity through incentives, clearly defined career paths and equitable compensation packages, and a commitment to diversity in hiring practices are core components of this human resources function.
  3. Oversees talent recruitment and retention: Talent management is another cornerstone of human capital management and the CHRO role. A CHRO develops and adopts a talent strategy that outlines how to recruit, hire, develop, and retain employees. The talent strategy includes offering equal opportunities to all candidates, employee training initiatives, career development programs, and succession planning, which is a strategy to identify potential leaders when companies change management.

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Bitcoin Donations To Ukrainian Army Surpass $4 Million

Donations, including those made with cryptocurrencies, have been pouring into Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, launched on Thursday.

Within the first few hours, Come Back Alive, a Kyiv-based foundation providing support to the Ukrainian army, raised around $400,000 in bitcoin, according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. As of 5:30 a.m. ET Friday, the organization’s wallet appears to have received 109 BTC (approximately $4.1 million) over more than a thousand donations in total.

Founded in 2014, Come Back Alive takes its name from the inscriptions the founder, IT specialist Vitaliy Deynega, had left on the first bulletproof vests sent to soldiers fighting the separatist and Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine. Today, it is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the country conducting fundraising to provide Ukraine’s military with the necessary supplies and equipment such as drones, thermographic cameras, and specialized software.

The foundation began accepting bitcoin in 2018 but the lion’s share of tokens it currently holds has come within the past few days. Additionally, the charity accepts bank transfers and contributions via Patreon membership (currently suspended).

According to Elliptic’s February 8 report, Ukrainian NGOs and volunteer groups raised over $500,000 in cryptocurrencies over the past year. The company has tracked the funds by identifying cryptocurrency wallets used by these organizations. For instance, the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance, a collective of activists conducting cyberattacks against Russian targets, has received nearly $100,000 to its bitcoin, ether, and litecoin addresses.

“Some of the Ukrainian volunteer groups and NGOs accepting crypto donations have very close links to the Ukrainian government – and this adds to a trend of nation-states turning to crypto assets as a means of raising funds,” Elliptic noted in an earlier report. “Iran is using Bitcoin mining as a way to monetize its energy reserves, while North Korea is believed to be stealing cryptocurrency to support its missile development program.”

For months, Ukrainian leaders have been making concerted efforts to turn the country into a new crypto haven. Last Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament passed a bill to legalize cryptocurrencies, building on a similar effort made in September before it was vetoed by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

He argued that the country couldn’t afford to create a new regulatory system for digital assets. However, Ukraine’s central bank has been working on a central bank digital currency since 2017, most recently announcing a test using the Stellar blockchain. The pilot was designed to integrate some of the lessons from decentralized finance into a centralized initative.

As a matter of fact, Ukrainians are among the most avid cryptocurrency users. Blockchain data firm Chainalysis ranks Ukraine as the fourth biggest cryptocurrency adopter in the world. This week, a host of crypto activists and executives have called for support towards Ukraine.

Yesterday, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, tweeted that the company had given $25 to each Ukrainian client. Additionally, Russian protest group Pussy Riot, Trippy Labs and PleasrDAO launched Ukraine DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization dedicated to raising funds for Ukrainian civilian organizations.

Source: Bitcoin Donations To Ukrainian Army Surpass $4 Million

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Six Tips To Retain Key Employees And Prevent High Turnover Rates

High turnover is a nightmare for HR personnel and the owner of a company. The loss of a valuable employee can be detrimental to growth. Not only can the loss lead to lower productivity, but it can also cost the company financially.

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, in July 2021, about 4 million people quit their jobs and about 10.9 million positions were declared open. This year, the UK reported an employee deficiency that has had a crippling effect on its economy. In the tech industry, managers have said that the increase in turnover is at an all-time high.

As a business owner, when employee turnover is high, it is time to re-evaluate the business. You first have to determine why your employees are leaving before you know how to stop it. Some of those reasons could be a lack of one or more of the following: flexibility, support, growth, appreciation, vision and engagement.

There are many reasons why your employees could decide to leave your company. Now while one or two employees leaving may seem negligible, a large number of employees, especially important ones, is cause for alarm. Here are a few strategies you can implement to help prevent high turnover rates.

1. Have flexible work options.

One thing many individuals have realized since the pandemic hit is that they can have flexible work hours and still be productive. According to a report by Beqom (download required), over 70% of American workers would take a job with flexible working hours over a higher-paying one. Flexibility does not have to be in the number of hours alone. It may also be start time, vacation days or day-to-day regulations in the organization, among other things.

Most employees do not want to work in a harsh environment where rules are set in stone with no possibility of flexibility whatsoever. Rules in the workplace are important to ensure that everything runs properly; however, when the rules are too rigid, employees can start to feel smothered.

2. Offer your employees support.

Many employees value empathy in their employer and will likely seek out and stick with an employer that cares about their well-being as a person instead of just the value they add to the company. Ask your employees what area of their job they find unnecessarily taxing and how you can make it easier on them; an immediate solution may not be possible but making an effort is the first step. This could also help solve or prevent burnout. And according to a Microsoft report, 54% of employees say they are overworked.

Support employees in learning a new skill for their current role — it would ultimately serve both you and the employee. While it’s almost impossible to solve all the problems of your employees, offering support goes a long way.

3. Help employees reach their career goals.

This is one of the main reasons employees leave. If they feel as though they are not growing in their careers, they could be tempted to look elsewhere. An organization that promotes career-driven goals can help employees achieve those goals to the benefit of everyone involved.

If an employee is steadily growing at an organization and they see a good prospect for them there, they are less likely to move on. Help your employees attain this by creating avenues for growth; this includes networking programs, seminars, mentoring opportunities and so on.

4. Acknowledge and appreciate your employees.

A good way to motivate your employees is to always acknowledge when someone does a great job. Everyone wants to be recognized for their hard work, and if an employee isn’t feeling appreciated, it could cause them to consider leaving your company. Believe it or not, many employees value this more than salary. Appreciate employees when they do a good job in the way that most suits them.

5. Communicate your vision.

No one wants to work at an organization that doesn’t have a clear vision or is left out of the loop. As employees grow, your business must also grow in scope. Have a clear vision for the future of your business, and be committed to communicating it. Feelings of being left in the dark, or low/poor communication in general, can make employees consider leaving. Employees can’t share in your vision if it doesn’t exist or is unclear.

6. Involve your employees.

No matter how good you are at running a business, not seeking your team’s input before making decisions could have devastating effects. When all the decisions are made without the input of employees, the work environment starts to feel like a dictatorship where ideas and input are not welcome. This can lead to employees moving to other companies where they feel like their opinion matters. Involve relevant stakeholders for each decision where it’s appropriate; there’s a balance to strike between stalling all decisions and authoritarian management.

As an HR professional or a business owner, you can help prevent high employee turnover or keep that star employee happy by keeping the above tips in mind. The most important thing is to recognize dissatisfaction in your staff and react in a timely way to offer solutions so they can continue being an active and productive member of your staff.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Marketing Consultant/Franchise Owner of Sylvan Learning Center of Murrieta, CA. Read Chastity Heyward’s full executive profile here.

Source: Six Tips To Retain Key Employees And Prevent High Turnover Rates

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Five Ways Nostalgia Can Improve Your Well-Being

Some recent studies suggest that experiencing nostalgia about our past can make us happier and more resilient during times of stress.

I often find myself nostalgic for days gone by—especially my young adulthood. Thinking about days when I could go backpacking with a friend on a moment’s notice or dance the night away at my wedding, without the constraints of child care or a limited energy supply, gives me a bittersweet feeling—a mixture of joy, sadness, and longing.

While I find nostalgia pleasant overall and even inspiring, doctors and psychologists did not always consider it a good thing. Staying “stuck in the past” was often associated with being unable to adjust to new realities, like when soldiers were nostalgic for their faraway homes and experienced loneliness and dread. Not that long ago, some considered nostalgia to be a mental illness, akin to melancholy, which could lead to anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.

But more recent findings on nostalgia suggest it can be good for us, increasing our well-being, making us feel connected to other people, and giving us a sense of continuity in our lives. And it seems to come on naturally when we need to weather life’s difficulties. Rather than being a problem, nostalgia can help bring happiness and meaning to our lives.

Here are some of the ways nostalgia can benefit us, according to science.

Nostalgia makes us feel socially connected

Nostalgia about our past often includes recalling important people in our lives—people who cared about us and made us feel like we belonged. Certainly, my own nostalgic musings are centered around times when I was with the people and places I love. So, it’s not too surprising that recalling these special times would make us feel more connected to others, in general.

In one study, researchers found that people who were asked to write about an event from their past that made them feel “sentimental longing for the past” felt loved and supported, and this, in turn, helped buffer them against loneliness. Another study found that when people felt nostalgic about times in their lives when they interacted with members of an “out-group”—for example, teenagers recalling fun times with older adults—they felt less prejudice toward that group.

Nostalgia also seems to help us maintain our relationships. For example, one study found that inducing nostalgia helped people feel more optimistic about relationships in general and more willing to connect with friends. Another study found that when induced to feel nostalgia, people (especially those who find connecting with others easier) felt more able to offer emotional support to the people in their lives.

Nostalgia helps us find meaning in life

A sense of meaning in life involves knowing that your existence matters and that your life has coherence or purpose. It’s something we all strive for in one way or another.

Fortunately, research suggests nostalgia can be an important resource for increasing meaning, by highlighting central moments in our lives and giving us a sense of continuity.

In one study, researchers compared nostalgia to two seemingly related forms of thinking about one’s life: recalling a positive past event or imagining a desired future. Focusing on an event that made them nostalgic led people to feel their lives had more meaning compared to imagining a desirable future. And, compared to both other reflections, feeling nostalgic reduced people’s need to search for meaning in their lives—they already felt life had meaning.

In another study, people either listened to music that brought them back to a particular time or read lyrics to old songs. These nostalgic activities not only made them feel loved and socially connected but also increased their sense of meaning in life. And, when people read an essay that encouraged them to think that life had no meaning—which said, “There are approximately 7 billion people living on this planet. So take a moment to ponder the following question: In the grand scheme of things, how significant are you?”—they naturally turned to feelings of nostalgia for relief from that sense of meaninglessness.

These findings and others suggest that nostalgia not only heightens your sense of meaning in life, but can act as a buffer when you experience a loss of meaning. And it may help you move forward in life, too. As one study found, nostalgia can increase your motivation to pursue important life goals, because it increases meaning—not just because it puts you in a better mood.

Nostalgia can make us happier

Though it does seem to do just that—to boost our mood. Even though nostalgia is by definition a blend of positive and negative emotion, the positive tends to outweigh the negative, meaning we feel happier overall.

In one very recent study, 176 university students were randomly assigned to a six-week nostalgia program where they were asked weekly to write about a past event that brought on “a sentimental longing for the past” (while a control group wrote about past events that were ordinary). Afterward, they reported on their levels of positive and negative emotions and how much the writing provided a sense of social connection, meaning, or connection to their past self. At different points in time, they also reported on their life satisfaction, feelings of vitality, and well-being.

The researchers found that nostalgia was generally beneficial, leading people to experience more positive emotions, life satisfaction, and well-being, as well as fewer negative emotions—at least three weeks into the program. These benefits mostly disappeared after that—except for people who started the experiment already engaging in nostalgia regularly. For them, going through the nostalgia program brought them greater life satisfaction and fewer negative emotions up to a month later, possibly because the program was a better fit for them.

A lot of the benefits on happiness may be connected to nostalgia’s effects on social connection and meaning. But it could also be that nostalgia helps us see ourselves in a truer, more authentic light.

Nostalgia puts us in touch with our authentic selves

When thinking nostalgically about our past, we are the prime protagonists in our own life stories. Perhaps because of this, nostalgia helps us to see our lives as continuous and coherent, providing us with a sense of authenticity.

In one study, when primed to feel nostalgic by writing about a time in their past, people saw their past self as an authentic representation of themselves. This, in turn, reduced their focus on meeting the expectations of others versus following their own, intrinsic expectations of themselves. In other words, it helped them be their authentic selves.

The researchers also studied how threats to one’s sense of self might make people engage in more nostalgia. Half of the participants read this text: “Many people feel that they have two sides to themselves. One side is the person that they show to other people; the other side is their true self—that is, the person who they truly are deep down.” Then, they wrote about times in their lives when they’d found it hard to reveal their real selves to others.

The other half of the participants wrote about their daily routines and when those routines were disrupted. Then, both groups reported on their positive and negative emotions, as well as feelings of nostalgia.

Findings showed that people who focused on threats to their self-concept experienced more negative emotions, and in turn felt more nostalgic. This suggests that nostalgia helps put us in touch with our “real selves” and protects us against threats to our authenticity.

Perhaps for this reason, engaging in nostalgia can lead to personal growth. At least one study found that feeling nostalgia made people feel more positively about themselves, which, in turn, made them more open to experiencing new things, expanding their horizons, and being curious—all signs of psychological health.

Nostalgia may help people who feel disillusioned or depressed

Perhaps because of these potential benefits, people tend to engage in nostalgia when they are feeling down, lonely, or disillusioned. Many studies have found that nostalgia seems to protect people from negative mind states, bringing about a kind of emotional homeostasis.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that nostalgia is always good or can’t have a downside. If nostalgia makes us spend too much time thinking about our past, it may prevent us from recognizing the joy in our lives right here and now. And, since we tend to engage in nostalgia when negative things occur, it could become an avoidance strategy that keeps us from dealing with present problems in more effective ways.

Encouraging groups of people to feel nostalgic could also have negative consequences. For example, one study found that nostalgia made people more likely to believe political claims, regardless of their veracity. Inducing nostalgia could be an advertising ploy used to affect consumer behavior, which could lead to poor choices, too.

Still, chances are that nostalgia is more a blessing than a curse, and a winning strategy for feeling better about ourselves. It can increase our connection to others, our sense of meaning in our lives, our authenticity, and our happiness. So, why not tune into nostalgia now and then? It may just help you meet the challenges of the moment.

Source: Five Ways Nostalgia Can Improve Your Well-Being

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