People say things like, “When I retire, I am going to be happy,” or “When I don’t have to work anymore, I will be happy.” The truth is, if you don’t think you can be happy until you retire, you likely won’t be.
One of the most recognizable cartoon characters is Snoopy. So much so that I bet you knew someone from when you were young that had a bedroom that was filled with Snoopy. Snoopy dolls, Snoopy quotes and even Snoopy curtains. You might have even learned how to draw Snoopy on top of his doghouse and spent many hours in art class perfecting this skill – like I did.
Happiness is Snoopy
One of my favorite quotes were always the “happiness is” quotes relating to Snoopy and all the Peanuts characters: Happiness is a warm puppy. Happiness is cookies. Happiness is a sunny day.
What is happiness to you? Does it have to depend on what stage of life you are in and whether you are retired?
There are a number of studies about happiness in retirement. Many people who are getting ready to retire hope that this new phase of their lives results in happiness. In fact, a lot of retirement planning focuses on how to pursue happiness in the golden years.
But more often, if you are miserable now, you may likely be miserable in retirement. Happiness does not just happen when you stop working.
Five Keys to Authentic Happiness
In studies conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, researchers found that there isn’t one element in the pursuit of happiness but five. They work together to contribute to an overall sense of peace and contentment.
At any age, including retirement age, the five keys to what lead researcher Martin Seligman called authentic happiness are:
Positive emotion. They are, for example, hope, enthusiasm and warmth. A large part of positive psychology, a field of study that seeks to understand happiness, is about enhancing these emotions.
Engagement. People who engage in activities they enjoy are happier. Retirement can help you in this area since it may free up your time to do things you like.
Relationships. Families, friends and healthy social contact may be essential for happiness. You should consider working on bettering your relationships before retirement begins, because leaving your job sometimes means leaving long-time friends at work.
Meaning. Retirement is the time you can start looking at the meaning of life. As you approach retirement, determine what you can do to help you feel fulfilled. It may not be a good idea to wait until you retire to figure this out.
Achievement. Those with a positive self-image are generally happier. If your job doesn’t give you a sense of achievement, try getting involved in other activities that do. Volunteer work? Sports? Quilting? This may be even more important in retirement.
The ability to enjoy our golden years can be the same ability to be happy at all the stages of our life.
So, what are the answers to your “happiness is?”
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
This article was prepared by FMeX.
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