If you want to feel like you matter as you get older and your career is in the rear-view mirror, you might want to start finding ways to increase socialization.
New research is showing that positive connections with other adults are associated with a greater sense of purposefulness in older adults. So get out and talk with people who make you feel good.
Researchers defined having a sense of purpose as the extent to which a person feels that they have personally meaningful goals and directions guiding them in life. Something that sadly can leave a person once they retire from their career.
The study did show that socialization was meaningful to both retired and working people, but it was more pronounced among retired folks.
It was a rather small and simple study involving 100 adults with an average age of 71. They were asked three simple questions throughout the day for 15 days, with this concluding question each evening:
On a scale of one to five, how much do you think your life had purpose today?
At the end of the trial, they found that the more positive social interactions a person had during the day, the better and more purposeful they felt in the evening.
These findings echo previous research that has associated a higher sense of purpose with longer, healthier, and happier lives and lower risks for health conditions like heart disease and dementia.
Trying to surround yourself with positive people who you share interests with is a great way to feel fulfilled. Try expanding your social circle by getting involved with groups of people who share your interests.
You can also try talking to more people when you get out and about!
Finding ways to boost enjoyment and socialization may help improve mood and help you age in a more healthful way.