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  1. #1
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    Older may mean happier

    Older may mean happier

    CLAREMONT, Calif., Jan 31, 2007 (UPI) -- A U.S. neuropsychologist says her research indicates senior citizens are more often happier than their children and grandchildren.

    Associate Professor Stacey Wood at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., said her study suggests older adults process negative information differently than do their younger counterparts.

    In a recent experiment with collaborator Michael Kisley at the University of Colorado, both older and younger adults were shown a series of negative images (such as dead animals) or positive images (such as bowls of ice cream) and the degree to which brain activity increased was recorded. The results showed older adults are more likely to be less responsive to negative or unpleasant information.

    Wood says, "In general, humans have a tendency to pay more attention to 'bad' than to 'good,' a phenomenon called the negativity bias." Wood said. "This tendency decreases as we age."

    The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

  2. #2
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    Re: Older may mean happier

    Along similar lines:

    It turns out that most of us think that happiness decreases with age, but most of us are wrong. We know that thanks to research done by Heather Lacey, a Research Fellow at the Center of Behavior and Decision Sciences in Medicine in Ann Arbor. She did a survey of more than 500 people nationwide and found that most of them believed they would be less happy in the future and older respondents believed they were happier in the past. Those responses don't seem to match reality and Dr. Lacey is concerned that people might be making bad decisions about their health based on the assumption that they should enjoy themselves while they're young.

    Why the Future Looks Happy - NPR (2006) (with MP3 audio)

  3. #3
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    Re: Older may mean happier

    I think as I get older, I become more comfortable with myself, which makes me happier. I've heard other people around my age say the same thing. I'm 49.

  4. #4
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    Re: Older may mean happier

    I find this premise to be true for me. As I've aged (I'm 46), I'm more disciplined, and less afraid to be myself. I don't need the approval of others nearly as much as I did when I was younger and somewhat unsure. I also think my attitude is more positive and less judgemental than when I was younger. I've finally grown into the fact that I don't know it all, and I never will!

  5. #5
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    Re: Older may mean happier

    I've finally grown into the fact that I don't know it all, and I never will!
    So true. Dave Barry (American humorist) once wrote something along the lines of:

    "When I was 20, my father didn't know anything at all. By the time I reached 30, I was amazed at how much he had learned."

  6. #6
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    Re: Older may mean happier

    Good to see there are some other baby boomers here!

  7. #7
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    Re: Older may mean happier

    depression had me at my unhappiest for a while but overall i also find i am happier as i get older (not that i'm all that old). i chalk it up to life experience and understanding myself and the world around me better.
    ~ our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time we fall - confucius
    ~ it is the journey, not the destination, that matters
    ~ keep hanging on, the sun will come shining through for you again

  8. #8
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    Re: Older may mean happier

    An update of sorts:

    On turning 40 last year:

    "It's funny because it really wasn't a landmark birthday for me. I remember when I was 33 or 34, it was devastating because I realized I wasn't a kid anymore. The great thing about 40 was that I really felt like I had life experience and knew what I was doing now. In fact, 40 turned out to be an empowered place for me, because I also realized how much I didn't know when I was 20 or even 30."

    ~ Jennifer Lopez

    J.Lo: I'm still the same girl from the Bronx - Wonderwall

  9. #9
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    Re: Older may mean happier

    Something a little more scientific than quoting Jennifer Lopez:

    A new report finds that older people have lower rates of mental illnesses related to mood and anxiety than younger people, but the conditions remain common, especially in women.

    Researchers led by Amy L. Byers of the University of California at San Francisco analyzed a survey of 2,575 people aged 55 and older.

    Five percent said they'd had a mood disorder -- such as depression or bipolar disorder -- within the past year. Twelve percent reported anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, and 3 percent said they had both mood and anxiety disorders.

    The oldest people in the study, those aged 85 and older, were the least likely to report having the conditions.

    In general, women had around double the rate of the disorders as men did.

    Older Adults Have Lower Rates of Mood, Anxiety Disorders
    The authors examined NCS-R data to determine nationally representative estimates of age-specific, 12-month prevalence rates of mood, anxiety, and comorbid disorders in older, community-dwelling adults. Prevalence estimates were based on DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. The 9,282 NCS-R participants included 2,575 adults ages 55 and older, broken down as follows:

    • 43% ages 55 to 64
    • 32% ages 65 to 74
    • 20% ages 75 to 84
    • 5% age 85 and older

    The principal outcomes were 12-month prevalence estimates of mood disorders (major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder), anxiety disorders, and coexisting mood-anxiety disorder.

    Mood, Anxiety Disorders Common in Older Adults

  10. #10
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    Re: Older may mean happier

    From a new article:

    “It’s a very encouraging fact that we can expect to be happier in our early 80s than we were in our 20s,” he said. “And it’s not being driven predominantly by things that happen in life. It’s something very deep and quite human that seems to be driving this.”

    Happiness May Come With Age, Study Says - NYTimes.com

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