A study has found a linear relationship between old age and happiness. That is, the older you get, the happier you are.
Despite the deterioration of the body and the whole array of health and mental problems as people age, happiness increases. The linear relationship means that people in their 90s are happier than they were in their 80s, and in their 70s than in their 60s, etc. The biggest miseries are in young adulthood, the supposed prime of life.
I can relate to this. Consider the stress involved in trying to find someone to marry, in trying to find a job, in raising children, in trying to find success in one’s career. Older people are on the other side of all that.
But the continual growth in happiness in the post-retirement decades, that’s a mystery, and no doubt a gift.
From Deborah Netburn, The aging paradox: The older we get, the happier we are – LA Times:
Believe it or not, there are upsides to getting older.
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.Consider it something to look forward to.
In a recent survey of more than 1,500 San Diego residents aged 21 to 99, researchers report that people in their 20s were the most stressed out and depressed, while those in their 90s were the most content.
There were no dips in well-being in midlife, and no tapering off of well-being at the end of life.
Instead scientists found a clear, linear relationship between age and mental health: The older people were, the happier they felt.
I’m sure there are exceptions to this upward climb towards ever-increasing bliss, and surely older people abandoned by their families and wracked with pain are hardly “happy.” The study seemed to look at people’s sense of well-being and then compared the different ages, rather than tracking how individuals did as they grew older. Still, the findings seem significant.
So are you happier now (however old “now’ is for you) than when you were younger? If so, why is that?