People who are truly happy in their retirement usually adopt these 10 daily habits

Did you know happiness and well-being can increase as you get older?

According to research, from your twenties to your nineties (to your hundreds if you’re really lucky), mental health may improve steadily. 

There are multiple factors at play—from older people being more emotionally mature, to developing the “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude—but the main thing is daily good habits.

Want to know how you can be one of the truly happy people when all your hair turns gray? 

We’ve got you! 

Start adopting these 10 daily habits of truly happy people in retirement, and you’ll be on your way.

1) They count their blessings

Happiness and gratitude go hand in hand.

And the people who are truly happy in retirement practice gratitude every single day. 

Whether through prayer or journaling or making a gratitude list as they shower, happy people count their blessings while other people pile on complaints and resentment.

Frequently on their gratitude list are:

  • Just being alive today
  • Having at least one friend or family
  • Being safe 
  • Having a roof over their heads
  • Delicious healthy food

You see, these are simple things that we tend to take for granted because they’re always just there. 

But people who are truly happy in their retirement never forget to count their blessings and appreciate the life they have been blessed with, flaws and all.

2) They’ve mastered their morning rituals

While a good morning routine doesn’t necessarily make one happy, having systems in place that prioritize one’s health and well-being makes it easier to attain.

Whether it’s waking up at the same time, making the bed, journaling, yoga or meditation, a quick run, dancing to their favorite beats, or a coffee-making, the happiest people turn routines into rituals.

They transform the mundane and ordinary aspects of life and elevate it to an art form!

While the surly senior eats the same thing every day, the truly happy in their retirement turn cooking into a meditative artform.

Instead of just blasting music into their ears as they jog in the morning, they take the time to fully observe, listen, and notice the details around them.

So not only are they healthier physically, they are also healthier psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually, too.

3) They go outside

People who are truly happy in their retirement don’t just sit on the couch all day.

They go out and experience the world around them.

While they may go on adventures from time to time, on a regular day, they make sure they spend time outdoors for at least for an hour.

They’d buy a sandwich and sit at the park. 

They’d walk their dog or go biking.

Every single day, they are grounded in the world…feeling the sun and the air, and witnessing the change of seasons.

And because of this, they are far less likely to be too self-centered to the point of depression, making happiness in retirement much easier.

4) They engage in hobbies

Even if they’re already old and gray, they don’t deprive themselves of play.

And they didn’t just become this overnight, too. 

Even when they were working full-time, they cultivated the sense of play in them.

These are the colleagues with the guitar they play winding down after work.

Or those who have a collection of graphic novels even though they work in tax and insurance.

Or the ones who regularly book tickets for concerts.

In retirement, you’ll find them solving puzzles in the morning, knitting in the afternoon, and dancing with their friends on weekends.

Play is essential to happiness.

To ensure you’re happy by retirement, devote at least one hour a day to actually engage in something you enjoy doing. 

I believe if we all did that, we’d all be less cranky and the world will be a much better place.

5) They connect with nature

They connect with nature People who are truly happy in their retirement usually adopt these 10 daily habits

Nature washes away the dust of life.

It nourishes the soul, making us less angry and stressed.

People who are truly happy in their retirement often decide to live near nature—whether near the sea, forest, or mountains.

This is often combined with a passion that keeps them healthy and fit: birdwatchers choose to live by the forest, and hikers by mountains.

Sure, not everyone can afford to entirely relocate so the happiest people in retirement are often tending a garden even in the tiniest of homes.

If all these doesn’t convince you to spend time in nature yet, research shows that it also improves mental functioning and creativity, too.

6) They have genuine conversations with their neighbors

Happy people care about connections.

And not “connections” in the sense of having people to use for personal gain. 

They care about people in a genuine way because doing so simply makes them happier.

While some people will just greet their neighbor “hi hello,” people who are truly happy in retirement have regular coffee dates with their neighbors.

They exchange cookies, and bring over cooked food when their neighbor is sick.

While other people can be transactional and just run their errands, genuinely happy people in retirement exchange banter and life updates with the sunday market seller and their bank manager.

They appreciate people and nurture connections with conversation.

7) They work on their goals and dreams

Huh? Goals and dreams when they’re already 70?!

Well, why not?

Having something to live for makes us feel young and they know this.

That’s why even if their dreams are kinda “foolish” to other people, they’d still try to pursue them anyway.

They’d start a small business.

They’d travel and try different cuisines.

They’d learn ballet.

For a truly happy person in their retirement, learning and evolving is an infinitely joyful process.

8) They do small acts of kindness

Connecting with people is nice. But what’s even nicer is doing something good to a random stranger.

Grumpy old people hate to be bothered by others. But the happy ones are always looking for opportunities to help.

They’d open a door for someone behind them.

They’d leave a big tip.

They’d buy someone a burger.

According to studies, being generous can make us happier

And if they do at least one small act of kindness a day, you can bet they’re happier than the average elderly who just thinks about themself.

9) They nurture relationships with their loved ones

Not a day passes where they don’t reach out to their parents, kids, or friends.

They send memes.

They send photos of the mundane things they’re doing.

They send links to articles they like.

They always have someone to message “good morning” and “good night.”

And if they’re lucky to live close to each other, they’d schedule weekly or monthly dates.

Few things can make life better than healthy relationships. 

Research shows that healthy and diverse relationships throughout life have a huge impact on happiness and well-being. 

Marriage, long-term friendships, or with siblings and family, having love and support as we go through the challenges of life and aging is key to a truly happy retirement.

10) They are always open to new things

While some of the most miserable people in retirement feel so left behind by the rest of the world, truly happy people stay open to new things.

They like to keep a fresh perspective by going out of their routine to learn something new.

A heritage cooking workshop, they’re there! 

That experimental performance art event? They’re not just going to watch, they’ll participate. 

People who are truly happy in their retirement always actively look for ways to learn something new.

Even with younger people, their zest for life comes through.

They enjoy life and take pleasure in new experiences and interactions. 

So while retirement feels like ‘the end’ for some people, for the truly happy ones, it’s just another beginning.

Final thoughts:

Some people take the perspective of “I’ll just work really hard and save until I retire, and then I’ll enjoy,” only to realize later on that they’ve wasted so many of their years.

But every single one of us is aging day by day, so don’t wait for retirement to think about your happiness.

No matter your age, now is always the best time to change for the better.

So why don’t you try adopting these 10 daily habits and see how your happiness rises steadily each day?

Remember, you only have one life.

So let go of the guilt, and give yourself permission to pursue the happiness you’ve always been deserving of.

Picture of Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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