The Aging Paradox
The upside of getting old. Are there any? In fact there are, a plethora of reasons. And there are various theories as to why this might be so.
A number of studies have demonstrated a major upside to getting older: As people age, they tend to become happier and more satisfied with their lives.
Some psychologists believe that cognitive processes are responsible — in particular, focusing on and remembering positive events and leaving behind negative ones; those processes, they think, help older people regulate their emotions, letting them view life in a sunnier light.
It’s true, the older we get, the better we are at living for the present. We come to focus on things that matter now — such as feelings — and less on long-term goals. Older people know what matters most!
Are Older Adults Happy?
They’re about as happy as everyone else. And perhaps more importantly, the same factors that predict happiness among younger adults–good health, good friends and financial security–by and large predict happiness among older adults.
However, there are a few age-related differences in life’s happiness lottery. Most notably, once all other key demographic variables are held constant, being married is a predictor of happiness among younger adults but not among older adults (perhaps because a significant share of the latter group is made up of widows or widowers, many of whom presumably have “banked” some of the key marriage-related correlates of happiness, such as financial security and a strong family life). Among all older adults, happiness varies very little by age, gender or race.
The Upside Of Getting Old
When we think of old age, we often think of decline and loss, but a growing body of research shows that some things actually get better as we age.
Yes, your physical health is likely to decline as you age. And unfortunately, your cognitive abilities like learning new skills and remembering things is likely to suffer too.
But despite such downsides, research suggests that your overall mental health, including your mood, your sense of well-being and your ability to handle stress, just keeps improving right up until the very end of life.
Believe it or not, there are upsides to getting old. Consider it something to look forward to.
Bucket55 is on a mission to rewrite the story of getting old. It’s not about aging it’s about living and having fun! Learn More…