Forget What You've Heard About Grumpy Old Men
By J. Dalessio & C. Gilman Jones
After middle age, adults actually grow happier as they get older, despite the fact that their physical quality of life may decline. Here's the bright side of going over the hill.
Turns out the number of candles on your last birthday cake may not influence your disposition the way you might think. Instead of turning adults into grumps, growing older actually makes many of them happier.
By definition, development is a process of adaptation and successful development demands that people learn from experience, understand contingencies in their environments, approach rewarding situations, and avoid punishing ones. As a consequence, knowledge (or expertise) determines future actions, which are increasingly effective within relevant environments.
This is particularly true with expats. Most, although not all, come to the Philippines for example, with an entire life of experience behind them. Even though there is an expected adjustment period, our wide life experience actually contributes to having a happier life. It looks like our senior years can be the best ever.
Researchers from the University of Warwick, in the United Kingdom , found that disposition improves after middle age, despite declining physical ability. Good news for some of us is that being overweight or obese doesn’t appear to make people any less happy, either.
Acceptance, wisdom, and awareness seem to come to the fore and play a larger part in our lives, despite adversity. Have you found yourself generally to be more tolerant than when you were young?
A study done at the Warwick Medical School showed that heightened happiness may have something to do with better coping abilities among seniors. Makes perfect sense and would actually help us, as expats, adjust more completely to a new life….
Older people are better at dealing with life’s crises than those who are younger, a fact that was supported by a University research team. Then again, older people might just be better at letting things go.
Increased happiness could also be due to a lowering of expectations from life, with older people less likely to put pressure on themselves in the personal and professional spheres. Having the wisdom to prioritize in life; what is really important and what is actually not so important at all…
It sounds like seniors may be more “chill” than twenty-somethings.
Finally, the researchers found that those who slept between six and eight hours per day tended to score better, both physically and mentally, than those who caught less or more ZZZs.
Those of us who haven’t yet reached our happiness peaks should take a lesson from our older, wiser, and scientifically proven happier elders: Give yourself a break and get to bed early tonight.
Do you think you’ve gotten happier with age? Tell us in the comments section below!