There will be challenges in every stage of your life, however, finding happiness can be the most taxing. And though society at large tends to ignore us as we age, researchers have found that seniors in their 80s and 90s, and older adults generally, report higher levels of contentment and well-being than teenagers and young adults. This dispels the idea that happiness and aging are incongruous.
The idea of “grumpy” older individuals is becoming a thing of the past as there are more options for aging individuals than ever. People are living longer than before and often these are healthy years. Many seniors discard the unhealthy habits they’ve struggled with until their 50’s and 60’s which allows them to live the life they never thought possible. As we get older, we have the time to consider what we want to do with the freedom of retirement. As opportunities present themselves, keep these seven keys to happiness as you age in mind:
The Keys to Happiness and Aging
1. Focus on doing. People who stay engaged in doing are happier longer. This means that staying involved in activities you find emotionally or cognitively rewarding is the first key to successful aging.
2. Stay social. As you may have read in this article, staying socially connected is a major influence on our mental and emotional wellbeing. Those who stay social as they age, stay happy as they age.
3. Volunteer. Researchers at the University of Toronto found that formal volunteering reduced depression and depressive rumination while increasing psychosocial well-being in older adults. Seniors reported feeling needed boosted their well-being and those with chronic conditions seemed to benefit most from these effects.
4. Knowledge. Lifelong learning keeps your mind active and boosts satisfaction and happiness as you age. This is also great for keeping your mental health sharp and promotes building strong synaptic connections to emotions and memories.
5. Have a good sense of humor. Having a good sense of humor helps us cope with lots of things, from stress to recovery from injuries. Let alone that laughing just feels good.
6. A sense of belonging. Feeling like we belong — to a family, community, or friend group — makes us feel relaxed and accepted, greatly contributing to happiness.
7. Let go of old regrets. We all have them. And though feeling bad about past behavior or thoughtlessness can help us transition into healthy adults, they serve little purpose in retirement. You already are a healthy adult. It’s time to let the old guilt go.
Happiness and Purpose
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and do the things you’ve always wanted to do and you’ll be happier for it. Make friends and welcome others, sharing the wisdom and compassion you’ve gained over the years because sharing your happiness with your social circle and community at large is a gift to yourself and others.
Did you enjoy learning the keys to happiness as you age? Keep that feeling going with the A-Z guide on Living and Aging the Way You Want. Here, you will learn some great tidbits about aging successfully. And since it’s FREE, what’s stopping you from getting your e-book today?Twin Lakes is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, with independent living homes, assisted living, rehab services, and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Lakes online or at 513-247-1300.