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Cultivating Gratitude and Positivity During Retirement

Positive thinking can provide many benefits, such as an improved immune system, reduced stress and a lower risk of certain conditions such as heart disease.

Positive thinking can provide many benefits, such as an improved immune system, reduced stress and a lower risk of certain conditions such as heart disease. It also can help you live longer – and live better. A 2019 study found that older adults who practice positivity and gratitude have an 11 to 15 percent longer lifespan.

“Positivity and gratitude, like physical fitness, is something you can gain through exercise,” says Wendy Kaufman, Executive Director of Waterstone on High Ridge. “Some people are naturally positive, while it’s more difficult for others… but that doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve positivity in your own life, no matter your natural inclinations.”

As we get older, it can sometimes seem like there’s less to be positive about, but by ‘flipping the script’, retirees and older adults can reap amazing benefits in their retirement years and beyond.

“Retirees who stay active, have an optimistic outlook, and are actively grateful have been shown to live longer, happier and a more fulfilled lives,” she explains. “Although aging can bring worries and stress at times, by practicing gratitude, you can see the benefits and joys of any stage of life.”

As the seasons begin to change, it’s the perfect time to reflect and make changes to your outlook. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude will be a wonderful way to round out the year and set yourself up for success. Whether you’re just entering your retirement years or have been enjoying your retirement for a while now, here are five steps you can take to bring more positivity and appreciation into your life.

1. Create a vision for your future.

Retirement these days doesn’t mean sitting back and letting the world pass you by. For many, it’s a time to chase those dreams you’ve always had (but never had the time to pursue). But dreams don’t just happen – in order to make them come true, you have to have a plan. While you’ve probably done extensive planning for your retirement on a financial level, have you made your plan on a personal level? Think of this as a golden opportunity to map out how this next chapter of life will look. Having goals and a roadmap to get there inspires excitement, hopefulness and a sense of accomplishment. Having something to strive for every day is incredibly fulfilling and makes it easy to look forward to each new day … which is a core tenant of positivity.

2. Be actively grateful.

Sure, getting older can be a pain at times. But it isn’t all bad. Getting older means you have more wisdom, more experience and a stronger sense of self. You probably have lots of things in life that you’re thankful for, from a loving family to being able to stay active or anything else that brings you happiness. Practicing the act of gratitude – which simply means you intentionally think about things in your life that you’re thankful for – can shed a whole new light on this whole “getting older” thing.

Gratitude can be practiced every day, and doesn’t require you to meditate extensively or go on a soul-searching mission. It can be as simple as saying a heartfelt “thank you” to your barista or writing a thank-you note to a neighbor. Some individuals like to keep gratitude journals and write down something every day that they’re thankful for. Think about the things that bring you joy – and then actively seek them out. For some, that’s being in nature. For others, it’s volunteering their time and efforts. Whatever it is that fills you up, seek it out – and then take time to think about how grateful you are for that beauty.

3. Stay healthy.

When we don’t feel good, it’s pretty hard to be grateful and positive, so it’s no wonder that health and wellness is such a big focus for older adults. When you take care of your whole person – mind, body and soul – you end up feeling your best, which makes it a lot easier to be a positive person. Here are a few things you can start (or continue doing) to help keep yourself happy, fulfilled and positive:

  • Eat a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and whole grains.
  • Get regular exercise (experts recommend approximately 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week for the average adult).
  • Schedule regular checkups with your doctor to make sure you’re doing everything you need to ensure optimal health.

4. Seek out and nurture connections.

Our friends, family and loved ones are the most important things in our lives (and something we’re definitely grateful for). When we form meaningful connections, our life becomes richer, we become happier and life is just … better. In retirement, you finally have all the time in the world to dedicate yourself to finding those deep, meaningful relationships that fill you up and make life worth living. Of course, spending time with the people you already know and love is very fulfilling, but this is also a great chance to branch out, meet new people and broaden your social circle. Here are just a few ways to do that:

  • Join a club or an activity group.
  • Volunteer your time to a cause.
  • Schedule regular meetups or check-ins with friends and family.
  • Be the one to reach out and set up a dinner, coffee, lunch or a walk – you may be amazed how quickly someone says “Yes!”

5. Start something new.

A lot of retirees dream about this time as a chance to not have to work anymore. But many individuals find themselves going back into the working world after some time off – sometimes, they start new careers or even their own business. That’s because using our skills to create something or do something positive is incredibly fulfilling. The most successful older individuals see retirement as a chance to start something new, not necessarily to stop doing things. In order to cultivate your attitude of gratitude, look for new opportunities to learn, do, explore, experience and enjoy. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Go back to school, whether it’s to learn a new skill or study a subject that’s always fascinated you.
  • Travel to a place you’ve always wanted to go – if it’s a foreign country, you might want to start by learning the language.
  • Pick up a favorite hobby from childhood that’s fallen by the wayside.
  • Think about a career or job you’ve always wanted to do and see if there are opportunities for you to pursue it.

We can’t stop the aging process – but we can affect how we react to it. By entering into your senior years with a sense of gratitude and positivity, you’ll find joy, meaning and happiness without even trying.

Welcome Home – Become One of Our First Residents!

We look forward to introducing you to the definitive, distinctive lifestyle at Waterstone on High Ridge and welcoming you as a new resident at our community. For more information, please call 203.361.9717 and discover how you can help shape the future of our premier rental community for seniors 62 and over.

The Height of Senior Living: Opening Early 2022

Discerning seniors in Fairfield County who desire a luxurious retirement lifestyle will find exactly what they’ve been seeking at Waterstone on High Ridge.

Located on a beautifully landscaped hill above High Ridge Road, Waterstone on High Ridge is an experience like no other. You’ll live on a verdant campus neighboring quiet conservation land, with easy access to the shopping, dining and cultural opportunities in nearby downtown Stamford, CT. Once you step into our sophisticated, approachable common areas brimming with extensive amenities, attentive team members, engaging programming and thoughtful care, you’ll know that Waterstone on High Ridge is the place to call home.

Offering independent living, assisted living and memory care, Waterstone on High Ridge provides myriad ways for seniors 62+ to enjoy their retirement to the fullest. In this classic, beautiful new community, you’ll be inspired by all the amenities and programs to take up a new hobby, exercise in our fitness center and indoor pool, and make new friends while dining and enjoying social events.

Our rental apartment community means no steep entrance fees, providing greater financial flexibility. Everything at Waterstone on High Ridge was created with you in mind, where our attentive team members, extensive programs and luxury amenities give you the ability to make life your own– how you like it.

Welcome to Waterstone on High Ridge. Welcome home! Join the experience of what life is like at this premier senior living community by calling 203.361.9717.