Whether you have saved enough money to feel secure about retirement or not… There is still plenty to be thankful for this holiday season (and ever more).
Feel grateful. It gets easier as you age and it improves your health.
In fact, as you get older, your ability to feel grateful actually increases. Research indicates that as you get older, gratitude and other positive feelings come more easily. With each year you add, there is a greater likelihood of more frequent and spontaneous expressions of gratitude which might explain why older people feel more happiness than their younger counterparts.
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
Convinced that you want to feel more grateful? There are proven ways to increase gratitude in your life. Here are 4 simple ways to get started right now.
Give Thanks: Your mother probably encouraged you to write thank you notes. It turns out that there is a good reason for this. It turns out that not only does giving thanks make the other person feel good, it can also increase your own happiness.
Think About What Makes You Feel Grateful: Expressing thanks is great, however, you can reap the powerful effect of gratitude even if you don’t share your feelings with anyone. Take a moment to just think about someone and why you are grateful for them.
Some people equate this expression of gratitude to meditation or prayer.
Keep a Journal: Some people take time every day to write in a gratitude journal. Whether you write your thoughts in a notebook or a scrap of paper, the important thing is that you take the time to document your thoughts.
Announce Your Gratitude on Social Media: A few years ago there was a “Gratitude Challenge” on Facebook. Participants would post a note of gratitude for 21 straight days. Users reported that the challenge helped them notice beauty and to feel more optimistic.
Things to Be Grateful For Related to Retirement 2017/18
Beyond things that you are personally thankful for, here are a few retirement related concepts that may deserve your gratitude.
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 and using home equity are just some of your options for making sure that you have the retirement you want. Here are a few ideas:
- 14 Reasons Why Retirement Jobs Are the Best
- 20 Ways to Cut Retirement Costs
- Ways to Tap Home Equity to Fund Retirement
3. Stock Market is at Record Highs: If you have retirement savings that are somehow invested in the financial markets, you have real reason to give thanks. The U.S. markets are higher than they have ever been.
However, it is important to note that many experts are calling these highs a “bubble,” meaning that they are predicting some type of crash. As someone in (or near) retirement, be cautious and prudent about your exposure to the financial markets.
If you are at all worried, you might want to explore 7 Tips for Protecting Your Retirement Savings from Stock Market Turmoil or Bud Hebeler’s 6 Reasons to Plan Conservatively for Retirement.
4. Inflation is Low: Inflation can really erode retirees’ buying power. For example, if you have $100, you could buy a certain amount today. However, if the cost of goods and services went up by 5% (a 5% inflation rate), then you could only buy 95% of what you could originally purchase.
Low inflation is always something to feel grateful about — especially in retirement!
5. Social Security and Medicare Remain Intact: Despite some degree of threat, these important programs prevail.
- Find 7 Insider Tips for Getting the Most from Social Security
- Discover 12 Surprising Ways to Save on Retirement Health Care Costs
6. 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 Planning 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.
7. Retirement is Your Time: Regardless of your financial status, now is the time to make the most of your life. Study after study has shown that having control over your time gives you more happiness than having money. Looking for ideas for how to spend that time? Here are 41 tips for happiness, health and wealth in retirement.
Be thankful that you have a solid retirement plan
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