Could curiosity be the key to a happy life? Studies have shown that seniors who maintain and cultivate their curiosity enjoy better memory and benefits to their overall well-being.
As we get older, curiosity is essential for keeping us motivated and focused and helping us maintain cognitive function over the longterm. But it’s not just about keeping your mind sharp and exercised. Curiosity is also about fostering our need for new knowledge and new experiences.
Curiosity feels good, and it helps us stay motivated and focused. The psychological and emotional benefits of maintaining a curious mind also include:
- Makes us happier
- Helps us achieve more
- Makes us more empathetic
How to Cultivate Curiosity in Your Life
There are plenty of ways seniors can keep their curiosity alive and satisfied. They can sign up for classes, put themselves in situations where they can enjoy an active social life, meet new people, and pick up new hobbies, skills, and crafts.
If you’re an older adult interested in moving into a retirement residence that offers opportunities like these can search for one in your home city. For instance, if you live in Ottawa, search “retirement home near me in Ottawa” and compare your options based on the kinds of activities, classes, and social environments they provide.
The Benefits of Curiosity
#1 Curiosity Makes Us Happier
Curiosity, research shows, makes us happier. Specifically, being curious makes us less anxious and stressed and more satisfied with everyday life.
Levels of curiosity in people of all ages are correlated with levels of mental well-being and life satisfaction.
#2 Curiosity Helps Us Achieve More
Curiosity is an essential motivator, especially as we get older. Studies have shown that older adults perform better at difficult cognitive tasks when they’re motivated, such as when the subject interests them. Cultivating a lifestyle of curiosity can help seniors fight cognitive decline and stay sharp.
#3 Curiosity Makes Us More Empathetic
When you’re curious about a subject—say, Renaissance painting—you’re impelled to read as much as you can about it. Similarly, when you’re curious about a person, you’re impelled to learn more about them by asking them questions, listening actively, and feeling what they’re feeling. Curious people make excellent friends.
The Bottom Line
Curiosity is a virtue for people of all ages. To stay curious, then, older adults can cultivate and practice curiosity, just as they would practice and cultivate other virtues, like kindness.
So far, curiosity is not well understood by science. Studies have tried to figure out whether a person becomes less curious due to age, as studies have shown cognitive decline begins as early as age 24, but the results were inconclusive. In fact, curiosity may even increase with age, especially as we become intrigued by subjects that previously held no interest to us, and that’s great news for those with a love of learning, exploring, and growing.