When researchers study the top 10% of happy people, the single most important factor that emerges is that these very happy people have good social relationships.
The goal in life should be to flourish. That’s what psychologist and founder of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, says. In 2016, the Australian Psychological Society reported on an Australian Wellbeing Survey that used his five pillars underpinning the ‘flourishing life’ to comment on wellbeing.
There’s no question that friends are important. Friends are even more important in retirement because it’s easier to become isolated and lonely. Staying connected now can help you prepare for then.
A survey and report by the Harris Poll organisation shows that Americans are envious of friends who put on social media pictures of lavish vacations and purchases. They admit that they do the same thing, but that doesn’t take away the envy.
I’m a grandparent and the scary thing is that I have two adult grandchildren. Where did the time go? Twin boys; they’re about to turn 20. Proud? Absolutely. But I will spare you the photos and most of the stories. However, I’ve learned a lot from my adult grandchildren.
Is the pursuit of happiness a good goal? Well-known Australian social researcher Hugh Mackay says, No! Happiness is a somewhat shallow goal and mostly unworkable. Wholeness is the thing to aim for.
One of the issues some retirees face is a lack of social contact when they retire. That’s why it’s good to get socially involved before retirement so you have connections in place.
It used to be that retirement was a fairly selfish time of life. Retirees had worked all those years and retirement was time for rest and relaxation. No more! The current crop of retirees, Baby Boomers, are too restless for that. They want to keep living life to the full.
Loneliness is a growing problem—an epidemic, say some. And it can hit retirees if they aren’t careful. In the workplace, we’re usually forced to mix with people as part of the job. In retirement, you choose to mix or not.
As you prepare for your retirement, don’t forget to maintain and develop friendships, and be an active part of your community. A number of findings warn that isolation and loneliness can lead to serious health problems—physical, mental and emotional.