Do We Get Happier As We Age? Yes!
January 12, 2015
While we may fondly reminisce about our youth and all of the happy moments we’ve had, research suggests that we actually get happier as we age. Many people think that their carefree days are behind them once they get past their 20’s and 30’s, but it turns out that as we approach our later decades we feel more satisfied with our lives and who we are. And our rosy outlook is even believed to get brighter as we get older, so much so that by the time we reach 85, we’re happier with ourselves than we were at the tender age of 18. Great news, right? Guess it’s time to put away the myth of becoming a grumpy old man or woman in our later years. Time to celebrate the Golden Years!
A recent study, based on a Gallup Poll survey, found that by almost any measure, people get happier as they age. More than 340,000 people across the United States, ages 18 to 85, were asked a variety of questions to rank their general well-being, including feelings of enjoyment, happiness, stress, worry, anger, sadness. The study revealed that when we’re young, we start off feeling pretty good about ourselves, but as life begins to throw us curveballs over the decades; our general level of happiness tends to wane. However, once we hit age 50, our worry, anger and stress levels begin to drop off, giving rise to increased feelings of well-being, satisfaction and happiness. This “happiness U-turn”, as some have come to refer to it, which takes place later in life has also been reported in many other studies as well.
While there are, of course, many different factors that can have an effect on our happiness levels at any age, it’s encouraging to learn that our outlook generally becomes more positive in our later years. Many of the studies about the “happiness U-turn” seem to suggest that a growing acceptance of our strengths and weaknesses as we age can play a big role in our increasing happiness. We also tend to gain a healthier and wiser perspective on life and the world around us as our experience grows. Other studies also indicate that we become more peaceful, relaxed, calm and relieved as we get older and gain a deeper appreciation for everything that we have in life.
There are many different ways that we can help increase our happiness levels at any age. Staying physically and mentally active, engaging with friends and family on a regular basis, and finding a caring community, can all help to improve our well being and happiness. What are some of the things that make you happy as you get older?
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