Be Thankful As You Near Retirement — It Improves Health and Happiness
Whether you have saved enough money to feel secure about retirement or not… There is still plenty to be thankful for.
Feel grateful. It gets easier as you age and it improves your health.
In fact, as you get older, your ability to feel grateful also increases. Research indicates that as you get older, gratitude and other positive feelings come more easily. As we age, we seem to have a greater likelihood of more frequent and spontaneous expressions of gratitude which might explain why we feel more happiness.
The Globe and Mail reported that “Neuroscientists have suggested older people have a sunnier outlook because of the limbic system, particularly the amygdala, an area of the brain involved in emotional attention and memory, becomes less active in response to the negative information. At the same time, older individuals maintain or even increase their reactivity to positive information.”
Feeling Grateful Improves Your Health
The fact that our ability to feel grateful increases as we age is great news since feeling grateful actually improves your overall health and well-being.
Dr. Wendy Mendes of the University of California, San Francisco, has done extensive research and published on the topic of “Effects of Measured and Manipulated Gratitude on Biomarkers of Health and Aging.” She has found that higher levels of gratitude generally predict that someone has:
- Less anxiety and depression
- More optimism
- More social connectedness
- Less anger
- Better sleep patterns
- Lower blood pressure
- Higher good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol
- Better functioning kidneys and more
Ways to Increase Gratitude
No matter your age, there are proven ways to increase gratitude in your life. Here are 5 simple ways to get started right now.
- Your mother probably encouraged you to write thank you notes. It turns out there is a good reason for this. Not only does it make the other person feel good, it can also increase gratitude in your own life.
- However, to feel gratitude, you don’t necessarily have to share your feelings with anyone. You can instead take a moment and just think about someone and why you are grateful for them.
- Some people take time every day to write in a gratitude journal. It can be a notebook, a computer document or just scraps of paper. The important thing is that you set a time to write about the things for which you are grateful.
- Pray or meditate about the things you are grateful.
- Make your Facebook posts be about things for which you are grateful.
Things to Be Grateful For in Retirement
Beyond things that you are personally thankful for, here are a few ideas for things to be grateful for related to retirement planning.
1. You Are Here:
- Let’s face it, not everyone makes it to retirement age. Medical advancements, improved food supply and more have made it possible for more of us to live long, healthy and happy lives.
2. You Have Options:
- Most of us have not saved adequately for a financially secure retirement. However, that does not mean that we are without options. Working a little longer, making compromises on a budget, using home equity are just some of your options for making sure that you have the retirement you want.
3. Retirement Planning is Easier Than Ever:
- Not sure how you are going to afford retirement? The good news is that retirement calculators are getting better and better. The NewRetirement Retirement Calculator will let you try out different scenarios and play with your options to let you discover ways to make retirement a viable and secure option.
Forbes magazine called it a “new approach to retirement planning” and people who use it give the calculator great reviews.
4. Retirement is Your Time:
- Regardless of your financial status, now is the time to make the most of your life. Looking for ideas? Here are 41 tips for happiness, health and wealth in retirement.