If you had to ask anyone who has made it to old age, they will tell you that living, and living with meaning are two different animals. Approaching 50 is a time when people tend to reevaluate their priorities and figure out what a second act may hold. They generally choose to lead a more motivated and meaningful existence and this can mean the difference between future happiness and a lifetime of regret.
Moreover, having meaning in your life is the best remedy for chronic stress. Most things in life cause us stress, but when there is meaning in what we do, stress does not damage our health. When we work towards something we value, the times we don't feel happy don't drag us down. Happiness is a transient feeling and we have little control over when we do feel happy or when we don't.
As a result, attempts to feel happy often leave us feeling disappointed and unhappy. But having meaning in our lives is more under our control. And research shows that having meaning in your life is associated with greater life satisfaction and overall health and well-being. If you wish to change your life for the better, take these tips for giving your life more meaning after the age of 50 a go:
A pet is a great way to add more meaning to your life and will provide you with a wealth of health benefits, from lowering your cholesterol to improving your gut microbiome. One study conducted at the University of British Columbia found that it can even reduce your stress. The act of caregiving, and the levels of unconditional love your pet will shower you with, will make you feel wanted, needed and create a new sense of purpose in your life.
2. Reassess your work-life balance
Which category do you fall into? Do you live to work, or work to live? If the answer is the former, you are missing out on many potentially significant moments that could make your life all the more richer. Quitting your job may not be an option, though reassess how much time you spend at work, in comparison to how much time you have for yourself, your loved ones, and your hobbies, which can make your life feel instantly more satisfying and purposeful.
Travel gives more than just memories. It gives our lives significant meaning. Experiencing other cultures can make you more empathetic, broaden your horizons, and according to one study, can even spark your creativity. If your budget doesn't allow you to travel to faraway places, even traveling to a new town can help foster greater appreciation for the world around you, making you more content.
Meditation doesn't just clear your mind, it can help you achieve greater focus and understanding about what your purpose in this world is. Research conducted on the subject suggests that meditation can make people happier and the increased mindfulness meditation offers can help you identify with what you truly want from life.
Comparing yourself to others makes you feel bad and can obscure your real goals. If you're looking for greater meaning, make a conscious effort to switch off self-judgment. As opposed to focusing on how you stack up in comparison to others, focus on how you feel, what makes you happy and how you can keep improving.
6. Set professional goals
While you may have to work to pay bills, as you do, it's important to remind yourself what you're trying to achieve in the process. Setting professional goals can give you a renewed sense of purpose.
While we may focus too much on how our bodies look on the outside, focusing on your health and well-being instead can give your life new meaning. Exercise on a daily basis, whether it means going to the gym, or going for a walk, can completely change your perspective on your life, and help you live a longer and healthier life.
8. Talk to a professional
Figuring out how to create meaning in your life, requires more than just some deep thought. Try talking to a therapist or a life coach can help you figure out how to carve out more time for meaningful experiences, and figure out how to identify what makes you feel fulfilled.
While traveling abroad is a great way to embrace other cultures, learning a language is another great alternative which can also give your life renewed purpose. Research also suggests that polyglots have slower rates of brain aging.
10. Prioritize kindness
While being right is fun, being kind is fulfilling. If you want to feel truly satisfied by your life on a regular basis, stop thinking that every conversation is an argument that needs to be won. Instead, try to make kindness the focus of your behavior, and you will likely feel more satisfied with your life.