Keeping a positive attitude in retirement isn't just a nice idea; it's a path to a longer life. Research shows that optimistic people are more likely to live to age 85 or beyond, according to the National Academy of Sciences.
However, maintaining a positive retirement mindset is easier said than done. If you're struggling to adjust to retired life, know that you're not alone, and there are ways to shift toward a more optimistic outlook.
Here are a few pointers on how to stay positive in retirement, whether you're newly retired or looking for a new perspective after years of retired life.
Stay Engaged With Your Community
It's common for the loss of routine to lead to unintentional social isolation. Aim to stay social; if you used to get most of your face time at work, try to establish new social habits and prioritize making plans with friends and family.
Beyond the plain fun of it, staying social boosts both your mental and physical health. Try to schedule at least one activity outside of the house every week. It could be a coffee date with a friend or old coworker, a volunteering opportunity or a group fitness class. Focus on nurturing relationships with loved ones, but don't forget that retirement is also an excellent opportunity to meet new, like-minded people through clubs, classes, volunteering and other events and organizations.
Try Talk Therapy
Research shows that psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, benefits at least 75% of people. Brain imaging has even demonstrated changes in the brain after meeting with a therapist, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
If you're feeling stressed, depressed or anxious in retirement, consider reaching out to a professional therapist. Their expertise can empower you with tools for how to manage negative emotions and how to stay positive in retirement.
You can search through your insurance provider to find a licensed therapist who accepts your insurance or use the American Psychological Association's psychologist locator to find therapists nearby.
Make a Financial Plan
Many retirees worry about supporting themselves in retirement. According to a 2019 report from the investment management company BlackRock, Americans' top concern is money. Creating a thorough plan to manage your finances in retirement can help put your mind at ease — and luckily, you don't have to do it alone.
Working with a skilled financial advisor can help optimize your retirement portfolio's mix of investments to simultaneously preserve and grow your wealth over time. Working with a professional can also provide peace of mind that you're not flying solo as you manage this critical element of your retired life.
Although it's important to stay engaged with your finances, bringing on a professional can help you step back from the day-to-day anxieties of managing money. When money isn't a constant stressor, it's easier to embrace a more positive mindset.
Being positive doesn't mean smiling through discomfort. Prioritizing your mental, physical, social and financial health supports your overall well-being — and it's a lot easier to have a positive outlook when you've taken care of your needs.
Ultimately, strengthening your social connections and seeking out professionals such as health care providers and financial advisors can serve as a buoy in retirement, making it easier to embrace optimism and enjoy the coming years.