How Do You Stay Positive In Retirement?


Sometimes retirement is not what you’ve expected it to be. Perhaps at the moment, you feel bored, lonely, or even depressed. And you might wonder, how do you stay positive in retirement? Well, I’m here to help you out. I share 14 tips in this article to get you in the positive spirit, so you can truly enjoy your retirement. So, continue reading.

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1) Live In A Positive Environment

Everything is energy. There is nothing spiritual about that, it’s just physics according to Albert Einstein. When you have a positive attitude you create positive energy and that attracts positive results. And it also works the other way around. To be able to have a positive attitude you need to live in a positive environment. It’s the law of attraction.

Look at your daily life and see what is negatively impacting your mood. What is it that your put your time, focus, and energy towards that is dragging you down? Do you feel comfortable in your house? And what are the most negative sources of information you spend time on? For example, when you watch a lot of news you get affected by all the horrible things that happen around the world. Nobody feels better after that. Right? The same works with what Netflix series you watch, which magazines you read, what radio or podcasts are you listening to?

See what areas give you energy and which areas are killing your mood. And make a switch to spending only time on the things that uplift your mood on a day-to-day basis. This for sure will help you get in a more positive mindset.

2) Focus On Fun Things To Do

Try to spend as much time on the things you enjoy most because then there is little time left in the day to do the things you like to do less. And if you want to do some exploring for fun things to do in retirement I have the best tip for you: Masterclass. The platform where you can follow online classes from the world’s greatest.

With a Membership to MasterClass, you have access to over 100 different classes. From cooking classes from the world’s best chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller, Gabriela Cámara, and more. To Science, Business, Music, Art, Writing, and Sports MasterClasses from other world experts. Just to name a few: Serena Williams teaches Tennis, Ron Howard teaches Directing to Ron Finley teaching Gardening.

MasterClass is a great opportunity to learn new skills and have something fun to do. Keep learning and staying active is a recipe for retirement success. And when you don’t know what things you enjoy in life you actively need to seek and explore your way to what you like and love. Only trying it out and experiencing new things is when you know if you enjoy something or not. And you can use MasterClass to explore all sorts of new interests. Or upgrade the skills of your favorite hobby through tips and tricks from the world’s leading experts.

3) Practice Meditation

When you’re aware of your thoughts and feelings you create a distance and the chance to also make a conscious decision to engage with them or not. Often we’re unconscious about our (negative) thoughts and get sucked into them without even noticing it. It’s the ‘Monkey Mind’. A negatively chattering mind that is taking you away from the moment. And also keeping you from positive thinking, but you can train the mind and become more aware when the Monkey Mind arises by practicing meditation.

When you meditate you sit down or lie comfortably while focusing on the breath. As thoughts and feelings arise, you try not to engage, interpret or judge, but softly put your attention back to breathing. You do this a couple of minutes a day and you start to feel calmer and more at peace. But it’s not a new state of mind. Every time you meditate it’s a new experience. Sometimes it’s easy to focus and sometimes you’re distracted all the time. And that doesn’t matter. The more you practice the easier you can control your mind and the more you can experience positive change. But where to start?

As I mentioned earlier in this article Masterclass has so many awesome classes available. And there is also a MasterClass about Mindfulness and Meditation taught by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He is the pioneer of the Western mindfulness movement and has over 40 years of experience in studying and teaching meditation. He teaches the fundamentals of meditation, shows you how to meditate and soothe your thoughts. The absolute expert when it comes to meditation and your best teacher to be more positive in retirement. Another great reason to get yourself a Membership to MasterClass.

4) Use Positive Affirmations

A brain works like a muscle. What you train and focus on gets stronger. So when you constantly have negative thoughts, the muscles and paths that lead to negative thoughts in the brain are strong. And in order to have more positive thoughts, you need to train the muscles in the brain that lead to positive thinking. You can rewire your brain when you keep training it and trick your brain to push out negative thinking. And a great exercise for that is using positive affirmations.

Positive affirmations are powerful sentences you repeat telling yourself in the mirror, during meditation, a walk in the park, or during exercising. It can influence and even transform your subconscious mind. At first, you might not believe what you’re saying, but if you keep repeating you’ll slowly start to believe these sentences until it becomes a part of you. You have to consciously repeat yourself until you feel it on a subconscious level. And then the law of attraction will work for you.

Examples of Positive Affirmations

  • I accept myself and I am true to myself
  • I am enough
  • I am grateful to be alive
  • I forgive myself and know I am not perfect
  • I am full of positive energy and welcome positive into my life
  • I am in charge of my own happiness
  • I believe in myself

5) Practice Gratitude

According to research in positive psychology, practicing gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness. It gives you more positive emotions, improves health, and you’ll enjoy experiences better.

By being grateful you acknowledge all the good things in your life. From the big things to the more simple things of your past, the present, and the future. And a helpful tool to cultivate gratitude in retirement is to keep a gratitude journal where you can write about things you’re grateful for every day. This way you start your day on the right note. And when it becomes more of a habit you’ll start to feel more positive.

6) Find Humor In Everything

Humor will get you in more positive spirits. This is in fact also the conclusion of a study about promoting emotional well-being through the use of humor.

“Results revealed that unlike the control and social groups, the humor group demonstrated a significant increase in several indices of emotional well-being. Specifically, increases occurred with self-efficacy, positive affect, optimism, and perceptions of control, while decreases were found in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, and stress levels.”

So whenever you feel down, make a joke about it or find someone with a great sense of humor that can make you laugh about the situation. Watch a stand-up comedy or something else that makes you laugh. Even in the darkest times, humor can do a lot of healing.

7) Surround Yourself With Positive People

As I mentioned earlier, your environment has a huge influence on how you feel. And a big part of this environment is the people you surround yourself with. As I parent you’ve probably been concerned or not wanting your kid to hang out with the wrong crowd. Now the same works for you. Spend time as much time with people that uplift you and give you a positive feeling. And most of all they fuel you up with energy instead of taking your energy.

Some people in your life can drain you. They can make you feel exhausted and unhappy and it’s important to limit the time you spend with them. You don’t have to cut them out of your life completely if you don’t want that but you can navigate your time better so that it doesn’t affect you as much in a negative way.

8) Exercise Regularly

If you want to feel more positive today? Exercise after you’ve finished reading my article and you’ll definitely feel a lot better and have a more positive outlook on life. Exercising is a powerful mood booster and a great way to uplift your mind. It’s not only healthy for your body, but it also has many benefits for your mental health. Wonder why?

According to many studies exercising can prevent and curb feelings of depression. But how does it work?

When you exercise the brain produces endorphins, dopamine, and adrenaline. These are chemicals that are natural painkillers and mood boosters. And they not only make you feel better, but they also make you feel more confident and help you to concentrate better. You’ll have a sharper mind after exercising. And feeling less anxiety and stress.

When you need guidance and support to exercise more I can highly recommend using the app Aaptiv. And audio personal trainer app with thousands of workouts and classes with the guidance of a trainer who helps you to achieve your goals. It’s suitable for anyone. And the best part is you can do a workout whenever and wherever you want. Because being in charge of your own agenda is the best part about being retired.

9) Do Good

Helping others makes you feel good. And that’s why doing good like donating your time or money to help others will get you in positive spirits quickly. That’s why doing a random act of kindness is so popular and an easy way to uplift your own mood while putting a smile on someone else face. Volunteering is a popular activity for many retirees and that is because of the many benefits;

  • you feel fulfilled when you spend your time in a meaningful way.
  • making others happy makes you feel good.
  • keeps you busy in retirement.
  • helps you to stay social.
  • gives you a new purpose in retirement.

When you would like to know more about why retirees love to volunteer, read my article: Why Do Retirees Volunteer?

10) Get In Touch With Nature

Nature is a magical thing. When you look at the stars your own problems become very small. When you go for a walk in the park, you feel refreshed and energized. A dip in the ocean feels like a detox for the mind and body. That’s why getting in touch with nature and spending a lot of time outdoors will help you stay more positive in retirement.

And that’s partly because of negative ions in the air. Yes, negative (invisible) molecules have a positive effect on your mood. And these ions can be found everywhere. From the mountains, waterfalls, forest, to beaches, etc. When you’ve inhaled them and they reach your bloodstream they produce a biochemical reaction in your body. That increases the levels of serotonin, the happy chemical I’ve mentioned earlier and it also helps to reduce stress, weaken feelings of depression, and give you a boost of energy. What a magical thing.

So turn off your TV and computer and go for a walk in the park, enjoy the sunset somewhere beautifully, dive into a nearby lake, go camping this weekend or inhale the fresh air somewhere outside. And make this a daily habit to stay positive in retirement, that whenever you feel down instead of switching on the TV you put on your hiking shoes and go outside.

11) Smile

Do you want to stay positive? Just smile, because smiling has surprisingly many benefits. Doing the facial expression even when you don’t feel like smiling gives your brain the impulse as if you’re genuinely smiling. It releases neuropeptides that help to reduces stress. And the brain releases dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins that work as an anti-depressant.

12) Stop Comparing

“Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to other people” – Unknown

“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt

These quotes sum it up perfectly. And you’ve probably experienced yourself as well that you don’t feel better about yourself when you compare yourself to others. Everyone has their own journey, so comparing yourself to someone else is unfair and kills your self-confidence.

Social Media is a slippery slope when it comes to comparing. Therefore try not to engage too much in social media, because life on social media isn’t reality. People only share the good stuff and with a nice filter.

The grass isn’t greener somewhere else, the grass is green where you water it. So focus on your own life and most importantly on the good things in your life.

13) Accept Life As It Is

Often we have a picture in our minds as to how things should be. And when the picture in your mind isn’t your reality that causes stress and negative thinking. Therefore it is useful to accept life as it is to stay positive in retirement. Life happens and nothing goes as planned, you just have to roll with the punches.

We have nothing in our control. We think we have a lot of things in our control, but the only thing that is certain in life is that someday you’re not here anymore. That’s why you need to make the most out of it. And that starts by accepting yourself, accepting your situation, and accepting whatever life throws at you. From that start point, you can work towards your desired goals and dreams.

14) Set Positive Goals

To stay positive in retirement you need to have positive goals to work towards. Something that makes you excited to get out of bed every morning. Something to focus on in the future. We as humans need goals in our lives. It creates a road map for the future and helps to prioritize our time and energy on things we want to achieve. And in retirement, this can be anything you want, because whenever is the time in life to pursue your dreams?

A great exercise to set positive goals is to create a retirement bucket list. It makes you actively think about the biggest dreams in your life and gets you moving towards them. Now is the time to get out of your comfort zone and not let fear hold you back.

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Kirsten Veldman

I'm Kirsten. In 2017, my husband Léon, and I decided to retire from the rat race to travel the world and work and live location independently. In the last couple of years, I wrote over 100+ articles about retirement and did extensive research to help people prepare, enjoy and celebrate retirement in the best way possible.

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