Life keeps getting better: Happiness increases with age

The general perceptions surrounding senior citizens are not very positive. In fact, people have this idea of grumpy, irritable men and women who spend their days yelling at younger generations and lamenting the good old days. Research disagrees. A new study says we need to change those stereotypes. Experts agree that members of our population who are in the happy golden years of life are actually the most cheerful and untroubled people.

Today’s youth-centered culture sees elderly people battling physical and cognitive limitations and promotes a constant struggle to avoid the aging process. But, science says we’ve got the wrong idea. Interestingly, research shows that older men and women are happier than their younger peers. The youngest category of study participants actually scored the lowest regarding psychological wellness. Previously, experts considered happiness in a U-shaped curve. Although the latest findings don’t match, both support the idea that at some point happiness increases with age.

The research

First off, a group of scientists took an in-depth look at people ranging from age 21 to 99 to measure factors of physical, cognitive and mental health. The study participants were all residents in the San Diego, California area, but the findings are significant across the country. Interestingly, results showed happiness and mental well-being in a steady, upward incline throughout a person’s life. According to this research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, life is like a bottle of wine or a fancy cheese that gets better with age.

People in their 20s and 30s publish carefree and easy lifestyles on social media platforms, but that can be a shallow representation of their mental state. Although they generally have stronger bodies and fewer memory problems, young people aren’t necessarily happy. Society projects a confident youthful mentality that masks feelings of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty facing younger generations. Young, wild and free stereotypes might not be an accurate representation of our nation’s young adults.

Older and wiser

Secondly, there are many phrases that convey the benefits of growing old and the solid judgment of senior citizens. This study supports the truth behind sayings about age before beauty and being older and wiser. Wisdom is built on a lifetime of knowledge. As adults, we face the challenges of everyday life and grow from these adventures. Mistakes and failures become lessons that shape our viewpoints throughout the years. With time comes experience. With experience comes perspective and emotional stability. Also, elderly men and women are more able and more likely to shrug off minor grievances. This population segment takes challenges in stride. They’ve learned to keep moving forward through all of life’s highs and lows. Perspective becomes more powerful than petty drama. Older generations can build on their years of emotional maturity to focus on what’s important.

Contentment with age

Third, years of perspective also position older generations to be more content. People grow more sophisticated emotionally over time, so elderly men and women have a stronger sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. As years go by, people realize that money, status, and power are temporary. Senior citizens understand the value of solid friendships. Also, they’re confident in their own identity. A person’s true character is developed through a lifetime of defining moments. Typically, adults are better at enjoying the simple things and seeking meaningful relationships.

Older generations are constantly proving the negative stereotypes wrong. Mental well-being gets better for the elderly. Their lives are full of wisdom, perspective, and contentment, in spite of physical limitations from an aging body. Age no longer means grumpiness as researchers continue to support happiness throughout your golden years.