What does happiness look like for you? For most of us, happiness isn’t a destination – it’s a pursuit. That may mean learning something new or picking up a new skill. For others, it means being at peace with your body and who you are. Other people may see happiness as having a large group of friends and family. Happiness can mean anything you want it to be, and here’s the best news – building a happy life is well within your reach.
“Being happy starts with good habits,” says Kevin Defayette, Executive Director of Waterstone at the Circle. “That may sound like a strange beginning, but think about what happens when you have a goal you’re trying to reach. You start practicing habits that will allow you to reach that goal. For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, you may start the habit of not snacking after dinner, or exercising daily. Successfully pursuing happiness follows a similar path. Making positive happiness habits a part of your daily life will help you find inner peace, help you achieve your goals and make you a happier, more content and more joyful person.”
Kevin says that even though happiness is a very personal thing for each person, there are some similarities we all share.
“For seniors, happiness often boils down to having the resources they need to live independent lives and pursue the things they enjoy,” he says. “Waterstone at the Circle presents endless opportunities for personal growth, enjoyment and fulfillment. Our active, engaging senior living community offers daily activities and provides access to any resources residents need as they pursue their personal hobbies and interests. Plus, we offer a world of luxury and service – everything that active, healthy seniors want and need to make their happiness complete.”
If you feel like you could use a little more happy in your daily routine, here are some simple habits that can help give you the boost you need. If some of these habits end up causing you stress or just don’t mesh with your lifestyle, don’t worry – just ditch them! Happiness is, as we have mentioned, very personal. After some trial and error, you’ll figure out what works best for you and what can be let go.
Daily Habits for a Happier Lifestyle
We often assume that smiles come because we’re happy. But as it turns out, smiling can actually lead to happiness. Smiling causes our brains to release dopamine, which is the hormone that helps stimulate happiness. That’s the case whether the smile is natural or if it’s “faked.” Really! This doesn’t mean that you have to slap a cheesy grin on your face all day long. But if you find yourself feeling a little blue or out of sorts, try cracking a big smile and see how you feel. Perhaps start each day by smiling at yourself in the mirror after you’ve brushed your teeth. Make it a habit, and that dopamine boost may be just what you need to have a sunnier, happier day – every day.
Get enough exercise.
We all know that exercise is a good daily habit that we should all be doing for our health. But did you know it’s a good habit for happiness, too? Getting regular exercise reduces stress, lowers anxiety and can alleviate symptoms of depression. You don’t have to run a marathon to feel the benefits – even just a small amount every day can make a difference. The trick is to find something you enjoy that’s not too strenuous and that you’ll look forward to every day. Whether that’s doing daily yoga, gardening for an hour or walking around the block, regular exercise will really put pep in your step.
Get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is our body’s natural “reboot” function. Unfortunately, most of us – seniors especially – don’t seem to get enough sleep. However, it plays an incredibly important role in brain function, emotional well-being and overall good health. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night is an essential foundation for overall happiness, and in order to achieve that, you’ll need to make sure that you're practicing good sleep hygiene.
Start by making sure your bedroom is a sleep haven – dark, cool and quiet. Make sure your bed is comfortable and that screens are taken out of the room (yes, even tablets and TVs). Reserve an hour before bed as your “quiet time” that gets your body prepped and ready for bed – that means relaxing activities like taking a bath, reading or meditating. Avoid taking long naps during the day, and avoid caffeine, alcohol and heavy eating late into the night. If you find you’re regularly having problems getting to and staying asleep, talk to your doctor to see if there are medications or treatments that can help you.
Eat the right things.
We all know that eating a healthy diet helps us feel better and stay healthy. Foods also play an important role for emotional state as well. For example, carbohydrates cause our brains to release serotonin (which is the “feel good” hormone). Unfortunately, most of us reach for simple carbs like sweets or starches to get that immediate high – and then a just-as-quick crash. Complex carbohydrates will give that same boost while also being better for your body. Fried or highly processed foods actually cause a depressive state in your mind, as does skipping meals. Instead, opt for lean meat, legumes, dairy and other foods high in protein. You’ll feel better in body, mind and soul.
Recognizing the good in the world and being grateful for the good things in life can give your mood a huge boost as well as help you feel happier overall. Take time each day to acknowledge a few things that you’re grateful for – even one is better than none. You can do this first thing in the morning when you’re brushing your teeth, or right before you turn out the lights to go to bed. Then, throughout your day, look for opportunities to give thanks for the pleasant things in your life. It can be as simple as the stranger who opened the door for you or the warmth of the sun on your skin. By recognizing the beauty and wonder of the world around you, you will automatically become more grateful – and thus, a happier person.
For most of us, happiness comes from interacting with the people we care about. We’re social beings, and being around people we love makes us happier. Loneliness is a big problem for seniors, which is why it’s so important to reach out on a regular basis. Every day, do something that connects you with someone you care about. Send a funny text, make a call or send an email to someone you love. Of course, face-to-face interaction is one of the best ways to boost that bond, so be sure to plan outings and “dates” that put you in proximity with friends and family. Feeling like you’re part of a network and having those bonds are one of the best ways to ensure a happy life, no matter how old or young you are.
Luxury Senior Living in Boston
Waterstone at the Circle, located in Boston’s historic Cleveland Circle neighborhood, is more than just independent living in Boston … it's a sophisticated urban setting for today’s active seniors. Enjoy best-in-class service and an urban lifestyle with arts and cultural, and historical attractions right outside your front door. From high-end amenities to gourmet dining and more, experience the best of city and suburban life at our upscale senior living community located on the crossroads of Brookline and Chestnut Hill.
Elegant Independent Living Apartments
Each of our 92 independent living apartments is the height of luxury and modernity, with sophisticated design, upscale features and stunning views of the city. Create the urban senior living experience you want with one- or two-bedroom apartments, a variety of floor plans and monthly rentals.
Senior Living Supportive Services
As an over-62 community, residents may require support from time to time. That’s why we’ve developed an on-site coordinated care program, in cooperation with our premier community partners, that allows our independent living residents to receive the assistance they need.
The best part? Residents don’t have to leave our senior living community – or even their apartment – to receive high-quality support. They can receive the services they need, when they need it, in the comfort of their own homes or in our on-site therapy gym.
Waterstone at the Circle is the opposite of retiring . . . it’s a place to enhance your active, on-the-go lifestyle. Call 617.431.1880 for more information or to schedule a visit to our premier Boston independent living community and discover The Circle lifestyle today!