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Saturday, June 22, 2024

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The Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness in Retirement

Mindfulness has a special meaning in retirement

Gain this skill and ease your mind

A note from Johann

Retirement is a time of doing more of what you feel like doing and being free to indulge yourself. We can take our time and savour experiences now that we’re free from the pressures of time. In many ways, mindfulness serves as a blueprint for ways to spend time well and not to fall into the traps that are common when we face unstructured time.

For some, empty hours can find us ruminating on the past and reflecting on what we might have done differently. In other cases, we might fret about the future and our ability to influence circumstances that affect our lives. Both states of mind can lead to anxiety, depression, and causing stress.

This is where mindfulness serves as a friendly guide. We’re reminded to keep our total focus on whatever we’re experiencing at this moment. We learn how to relax and be aware of our physical presence. By putting us in the present moment, we are no longer thinking of our past regrets or our future concerns. We have no control over the past regrets or over the future worries. So it is when we sit comfortably and look in a focussed manner into the present that we can influence matters and set ourselves at ease. It is in the present that we have optimum decision-making ability, much better control and awareness. Learning to spend time mindfully is a skill that has many benefits for retirement and is an enjoyable experience too.


We’re focusing on mindfulness and will share various resources to help you understand how this buzz word is more than a fad and rather a tool we can use to improve our wellness. There are proven benefits to incorporating mindfulness in our daily lives and this can be done quite simply. Mindfulness is not only about meditation but can also be experienced through the simple act of savouring daily delights like enjoying your first cup of morning tea or engaging all your senses when going for a nature walk. The upside is a calmer demeanour and a more resilient constitution. Retirement transitions and challenges of aging can be weathered with greater ease and clarity.

Our top 3 article picks this week:

Maintaining Mental Health by Practicing Mindfulness: Resources for Older Adults

And elderly woman smiling from practicing mindfulness

Our take:
This comprehensive resource from the Hartford Extra Mile is all the introduction you need to understand and start implementing mindfulness into your daily habits.

Article excerpt:
Why Mindfulness Matters for Healthy Aging
While you can’t prevent aging, there’s also no reason to fear it, says Sherry Skyler Kelly, a West Hartford-based clinical neuropsychologist and licensed psychologist.

“The good news is we have a lot more control over our aging than we at first realize,” says Kelly.

She found that adults follow a pattern of wellness or decline, and the path they take is heavily linked to one area: lifestyle choices. This led her to create a “MAKE-it-positive” plan for healthy aging that involves having each of these elements in your life every day:

M = Mindfulness, Meditation, Mood, Mindset & Music
A = Activities & Action (Behavioral Activation)
K = Keeping Connected to Others & Social Support
E = Exercise & Energy Work

Reducing Stress by Practicing Mindfulness

Even if you make the choice to embrace a healthy lifestyle, how can mindfulness help reduce stress in your daily life? Joy Rains is author of “Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind” and host of the podcast “Mindful 180” and she believes it all comes down to staying present.

“Since mindfulness helps you experience life in the ‘here and now,’ you may notice tension that you hadn’t noticed before,” says Rains. “For example, you might realize that your breathing is shallow or your muscles are tense or that you’re adding to your stress by imagining negative scenarios. Becoming aware of tension can help you release it.”

Practicing mindfulness is possible anytime by simply pausing and checking in with your body, Rains says. “Notice your breathing, even for one breath. Feel the soles of your feet as they touch the ground when you walk. Notice the feeling of the water as you wash your hands.”
Click here to read the full article on

The Benefits of Meditation For Boomers

And elderly man meditating

Our take:
Meditation is one of the ways in which we can become more mindful. The benefits of meditation are simply and clearly set out in this piece. Just scanning the list makes us want to go ahead and do it!

Article excerpt:
Meditation is all about training your mind to control your thoughts and block out mental noise so your body and mind can relax. There are countless health benefits of meditating regularly.

The reason meditation is recommended for those of us who were born between 1946 and 1964 (baby boomers) is that our bodies and minds are beginning to experience the effects of age including memory issues, immune system issues, and blood pressure issues all of which are helped by meditation.

• Manage & Reduce Your Stress
• Improve Your Mental & Emotional Health
• Improve Self-Awareness
• Increased Productivity
• Increase Attention Span
• Counter Age-Related Memory Loss
Click here to read the full article on

What Are The 7 Principles of Mindfulness?

A stack of rocks on top of each other symbolising balance and harmony achieved from mindfulness

Our take:
Psych Central gives a clear explanation of the 7 principles of mindfulness to help gain a deeper understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of this practice. Knowing what they are will help you gain a better understanding of why mindfulness works as well as helping improve your own efforts towards mindful living.

Article excerpt:
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn in his book, “Full Catastrophe Living,” seven attitudinal factors constitute the major pillars of mindfulness practice. The attitudes are:

• non-judging
• patience
• beginner’s mind
• trust
• non-striving
• acceptance
• letting go

Mindfulness practices to try
Practicing mindfulness is a form of meditation. Some mindfulness practices can take as little as 1 minute to complete.

Walking meditation
Walking meditation is a way to enjoy movement while being fully aware of every step. You can do this practice anytime you walk.

To begin walking meditation:

Pay attention to every step that you take.
As you inhale and exhale, pay attention to each step you take and your breathing.
Try to match your steps to your breath. You may take two steps for the in-breath and three steps for the out-breath. This may change as you continue to walk.
As you walk, you can also use words that follow the rhythm of your breathing and walking. For example, Hanh suggests that if your breathing is three breaths for three steps, you may say something like, “The green planet.”
Click here to read the full review on

Other highlights for the week:

Most Popular Daily Thought

A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought – they must be earned. – Naval Ravikant
One saying goes, ‘the best things in life are free” and this might be true from a monetary sense, but they don’t come without some effort on our part. The same is true for peace of mind and a sense of calm. We can achieve things by working on them. Mindfulness is called a practice because it is something we can get better at with some effort. It takes effort and practice to get good at meditation or yoga or and one of the activities that might be suggested for mindfulness. But they can also be started simply. One day at a time; one unit of effort at a time. You’ll soon build up a streak and start feeling the benefits. This will encourage you to continue putting in the effort.
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Quote by Naval Ravikant – A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought – they must be earned.

Weekly Question

Last week’s question:
Tell us of something you did today where you savoured the experience.
Some of the responses we received:
• I went for a walk at the lake where I live in Canada.
• I learned about web design.
• Making my pupils books.
• My first sip of tea in the morning.
• I had a cold shower in the afternoon, it was 30+ Celcius outside.
• We pruned the olives in the grove enjoying the winter sun.
• Devil’s food cake custard, is absolutely delicious.
• My morning coffee!
• Just generally enjoying the peace around me.
• I did art with my granddaughter!
• I played with my granddaughter.
• A nice and well-deserved walk.
• I enjoyed a wonderful nap today.
• Finger painting with my granddaughter.
• I ate 3 scoops of Maud’s ice cream – sheer bliss!
• I planted seedlings today!
• Drove the Comrades route with my hubby who’s running tomorrow. What a beautiful route!
• Visited one of my favourite friends.
• Got some morning sun!
• Surveyed my beautiful surroundings.
• Rode our electric bikes for 13 miles on the Nashville Music Trail along the river.
• I flew to San Diego and savoured the flight the entire way there!
• I had lunch with my daughter. It was wonderful to catch up with her.
• Watched the dolphins playing in the waves.
• Sat on my patio and watched the sunrise, so peaceful.
• I went for a very early walk in the bush and stood watching a giraffe mother and calf 5 meters from me.
• That hot cocoa-milky drink that I knew was also healthy. Made with Almond milk, Maca- and raw cocoa powder, cardamom, and cinnamon.
• Luxuriated in my swimming pool when it was 99 degrees in Florida.
• Attended Holy Mass at RC Church in Parow, South Africa.
• Celebrated Bail Pola, a festival of thanksgiving for bulls and oxen.

This week’s questions:
Besides financial planning how else are you preparing for retirement?
Click here to answer the question in our Facebook group


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Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.