Psst...There is a secret to having a happy, healthy retirement. A recent USA Today article (“Key to a happy, healthy retirement: having fun,” October 2014) details the findings from a Harvard study on aging.
Seventy-three years in the making, the Harvard Study on Adult Development is one of the oldest and most highly regarded studies of its kind. Researchers have concluded that exercise is the biggest factor in having a long and happy life. However, making new friends, finding fun activities and continuing your education are all similarly important.
It is also important that you find something else to give you “purpose” after you stop working. One way to do this is to make new friends: Replace your work contacts with new, social contacts. Find things to do that get you moving, talking to people and learning new things. Join a group of friends for a hike to a winery or start a brunch-and-walking group.
A similar AARP article (“How to Retire Happy”, September 2014) reiterates the importance of having purpose and continuing to be connected to others. Retirement can last more than 20 years for some, so it’s important that you develop a plan—before you retire—for what you will do with your time. Activities that help others, such as volunteering at a local hospital or teaching at a community college, can not only keep you busy, but also foster a sense of personal satisfaction. Spending time with your children and grandchildren can also provide a source of happiness.
What do you think are the keys to a happy retirement? Share with us!