Tips for Happiness and Health During Your Later Years

Healthy And Happy

Roman poet Ausonius once wrote, “Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.” No matter your age, there are many ways to find and increase happiness in your life. 

Here are some easy steps that you can take to improve your health, connect with others, and build happiness in your everyday life. These activities also help your brain stay healthy and fight off cognitive deficits.

Volunteer Your Time

Volunteering is a proven way to increase your happiness. It will give you purpose and help you manage stress, anger, and anxiety. People who volunteer are also in better overall health than those who don’t. Researchers in Europe found that “volunteers are as healthy as 5 years younger non-volunteers.” Just giving your time to help a cause or others can make you feel younger and healthier.

Choose a cause you care about and then use your experience and skills to give back. Need help finding a place to start? You can find opportunities in Las Angeles on the up-to-date Retiree and Senior Volunteer Program calendar offered by L.A. Works. Give them a call at 323-224-6510 to learn more. To find others, simply call your local township office or search online for volunteer opportunities for retirees.

Exercise However You Can

Exercise is a great way to stay healthy and happy. It’ll help improve your balance and strength, reduce your risk of falling, and lower your risk of heart disease. Plus, when you exercise, your body produces endorphins that help with stress and pain management.

New research by the Mayo Clinic suggests that you can benefit from exercising no matter how old you are or how inactive you used to be. Their study found that the exercise actually corrected the normal decline in muscles’ cellular health. This means that exercising (in some forms) can slow down aging on a cellular level.

Participants in the study did high intensity interval training (HIIT) on a stationary bike. Because HIIT is very rigorous, it is not typically recommended for senior citizens. However, there are many other safe exercises for senior citizens that will bring positive results. Even simple acts like taking a daily walk, doing back stretches, or joining a Zumba for older adults class will help you to feel healthier and happier.

Check out the Mayo Clinic’s recommendations about whether or not you need to consult your doctor first before exercising.

Spend Time with Others

If you can, spend time each week (or day) with your family and friends. Being around the people you love will improve your mood. A Gallup poll found that seniors who socialize for at least three hours each day report greater happiness than their peers. This happiness also comes with less worry and stress. 

Struggling to connect with others? Find out if your local community center, library, or church hosts social activities for senior citizens. If you’re lucky, your town might even have a senior citizen recreation center. These places offer great opportunities to make new friends, get out of the house, and try new things.

Find a Creative Outlet

Creativity is not just for those who grew up being told they were creative. Anyone at any age can start doing creative activities. Activities like writing, drawing, sculpting, scrapbooking, knitting, and painting are all ways to express your creativity. Singing, creating new recipes, or playing an instrument are also great outlets. Check out these creative activities for elderly with dementia for more ideas.

There are many benefits of creativity. Author Tony Wagner believes that creativity gives you a sense of purpose. This purpose fights off feelings of isolation and depression and makes you happier. After 20 years of research, Dr. Robert Epstein also found that creative activities and thoughts bring joy to the person creating. Crafts and hobbies also help with hand-eye coordination, cognition, and focus.

Have grandchildren? Share your creativity with them. Here are some great craft ideas for senior citizens and kids to do together.