Happiness: A matter of age!

Written on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 at 2:08 pm by Christiane

According to my teenage sons ‘it’s not cool to be old’- and of course, to them anyone over thirty looks suspiciously old.

What little do they know! They don’t know for example that according to a recently published study (Yang Yang, University of Chicago, 2008) older people are happier than younger people. This is because older people have learned to lower their expectations. They are more likely to be content with whatever they have achieved in life. The well-known psychologist Erik Erikson described already more than 50 years ago the main task of late adulthood as “coming to terms with one’s life”, and those who succeed will gain the feeling of integrity, which he described as feeling whole and complete.

Life satisfaction seems to be a factor of one’s perception: as lower the expectation, as higher the happiness. People over 65 don’t expect life to be perfect. They have learned to accept certain aches and pains as part of life, and in general, they develop a more positive attitude.

In another study, published about ten years ago, people over 65 reported more positive emotions and less negative emotions than their younger counterparts. Also this study came to the conclusion that the older you are the happier and more satisfied you should feel. (D. Mroczek & Ch. Kolarz, Fordham University, 1998).

It seems that we all should look forward to our golden years – and there is another good reason for it: Researchers at Yale University found out that people with a positive attitude toward aging live in average 7.5 years longer than those with negative stereotypes (Levy et. al., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 83, No.2)

One Response to “Happiness: A matter of age!”

  1. Rikke says:

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