“Current Directions in Psychological Science” published a paper in 2010 on a study indicating that older adults better regulate their emotions by being able to identify situations that will make them happy and avoid unpleasant situations. The study was authored by Heather L. Urry, Ph.D., and James J. Gross, Ph.D.
For many of us, it is already here or just around the corner. The dreaded arrival of “old age.” At least we are looking at numbers that correlate with what was once considered to be “old age” But, wait a minute, let’s not be influenced so quickly by the negative concept of aging. Maybe... just maybe... “old age” isn’t so bad. Indeed, maybe “old age” can be great.
Sure, there are unappealing aspects to growing older. But plenty of older Americans find they are actually happier and feel more content in their later years than when they were younger. In fact, numerous studies show that “old age” is a much happier time of life than we might expect.
A study published in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in 2010 determined that self-determined levels of happiness were higher among people over 50. The results were based on a Gallup phone survey from 2008 that questioned more than 340,000 Americans about everything from health and finance to stress, anger and sadness to global wellbeing. The study was led by Arthur A. Stone, PhD.
A 2012 study, led by Saverio Stranges, MD, PhD, University of Warwick in England, showed that happiness can increase significantly after middle age. The study found that disposition tends to improve in later years despite declining physical abilities.
* The above summaries do not contain all the relevant information concerning each study, and there is the possibility they could include some inaccuracies.
A study published in the “Journal of Consumer Research” in June 2014 looked at how much happiness people of different ages found in both the ordinary and extraordinary experiences of life. While responses from all age groups reported finding happiness in extraordinary experiences, the study found that people in their later years tend to get more joy out of the “little things” in life. The study was authored by Amit Bhattacharjee and Cassie Mogilner, PhD.